This week we celebrated World Cat Day and rediscovered this forgotten figure in the Territory’s seafaring history. This cat was the mascot of the HMAS Fremantle, photographed here in 1943. The ship was one of 60 Bathurst-class corvettes built during World War II. It was a regular sight escorting convoys between Darwin and Thursday Island until 1945, receiving a battle honour for its service. Ship's cats were not uncommon across all forms of shipping at this time, earning their keep providing rodent removal services and companionship. While we know little of this cat’s story, with its own custom-made hammock it must have been a favourite with the crew.

Picture: Library & Archives NT. Cat resting on a Fremantle life preserver, Cuffe, Sydney John, 1942, PictureNT, Syd Cuffe Collection, PH0831/0092

Forgotten Territory was a weekly photo column of historic images in the Northern Territory News which I curated from 2016 until 2019 supported by the collections of the Northern Territory Library and other cultural institutions around Australia, as well as local history Facebook groups. 

Click on the images to read the story behind the image.

Warning: May contain images of people who have died.

caddie brain 2021

These works were made on Arrernte, Larrakia, Gaddigal and Lenape land that was never ceded