Have you ever wonder what sort of animals watch over your city? How many are there and how long have they been standing guard? I once read a book on animals of London and where can one finds them in the city. I was very fascinated by the idea and began to wonder about the city I am living in and its statued animals. This was how I got started on my project of cataloging and photographing animals in the City of Perth and its surrounding suburbs.
In this first phase of the project I want to showcase the population of animals, in their statue form, in the City of Perth. There are also many sculptures of animals in the city that are not life size and are usually part of buildings. A significant part of the history of the city would be lost if these animals were excluded from the project just because they do not fit the strict definition of a statue. So, I decided also included them in the project. For this initial phase, I have restricted my search to within the old (before 1st July 2016) City of Perth boundary.
Based on the numbers I have recorded so far, most of the animals that are still hanging around in the city today are mammals. There are a few birds, some mythical creatures and one insect. Yes, just one insect to represent the inverterbrates. There are no amphibians nor reptiles in Perth, or at least I did not find any.
Many of the animals have been with the city for more than a century. The rooster perching on Wesley Uniting Church, on Hay St, is the oldest among the bunch and has been there since 1870 when the building was completed. The newest addition to the gang is a giant mythical bird named First Contact. It was nested in Elizabeth Quay in December 2015.
Many of the animals, especially the lions and unicorns, reveal the strong influence mother England had on the city between the late 19th and the early 20th century. On the contrary, only a small number of the population are animals native to Australia or even Western Australia. There could be a change in the flavor of architecture or public appreciation of animal statues towards the end of the 20th century that could explain the small number of new animals introduced since. Most of the native animals in the city are relatively new. For example, a family of black swans have just settled in near the city’s iconic Bell Towers since 2000.
While we all wonder what new animals will we find in Perth in the future, here are what we have now and the map at the bottom of the page shows where can they be found in the city.