Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bondi the sailor bulldog

South Africa has it's share of famous dogs with the two best known ones being Jock of the Bushveld and Just Nuisance.  A lesser known dog, or a small monument to him anyway, can be found at the waterfront in Knysna.  The Royan Navy sloop HMS Verbena was part of the African Station in 1928 when she visited Lourenzo Marques (now Maputo).  The city presented the ship with a pedigree bulldog named Bondi and it became the ship's official mascot.  On a visit to Knysna in 1931 the crew marched to the town hall for a variety concert and Bondi, not wanting to be on anchor duty, tagged along.  It was a very hot day and the heat got to Bondi who collapsed and died.  The ship's records simply stated: 16:00 - "Bondi died ashore". 

Bondi was buried on the wharf and it became a tradition for visiting British ships to tend to his grave.  This tradition ended during the second World War when no British ships entered the Heads and the only times a British crew tended the grave was when the HMS Nereid visited, its last visit being in 1953.  It seemed that nobody cared for the poor Bondi anymore.  The tradition was revived by the South African Navy in 2001 and in 2004 the Knysna Animal Welfare approached local sculptor Karel du Toit who created a bronze statue of Bondi.  The sculpture was unveiled at the Knysna Quays in 2004 and all donations put in the box at it's feet goes to the Knysna Animal Welfare.


  1. I have never heard of Bondi either, although yes of course I know of the other two. I am glad that Bondi has now been recognised properly. Diane

  2. Nice to see a memorial to a worthy sea dog, and that his legacy can live on by supporting the Knysna Animal Welfare.

  3. I also took his photo!! You keep taking my photo opportunities !!! Not to worry, I got it from a different angle!!!!!!!