Terror in Timaru

Thursday 09 April 2020

He was an animal unleashed, freely roaming the streets of Timaru in February 1875. He sensed the girls were there, somewhere. He kept his keen senses on the alert, searching for their presence.

That afternoon, while hanging out with some boys, he saw them. He could not control himself—the excitement was too much—and he bounded over to them.

The girls, Ada and Annie Hargreaves, had just arrived in Timaru to join their family, who were visiting friends. They were thrilled to be reunited with him, their beloved dog, Terror.

Although the Hargreaves family lived in Lyttelton they were frequent visitors to Timaru, and Annie kept a series of diaries during the 1870s that recorded these visits and others made throughout New Zealand.

The afternoon she and her sister Ada were reunited with Terror was just one of the many events she wrote about. Her diaries, as well as six photograph albums she compiled, are now in Canterbury Museum’s collection.

Miss Perry, Annie Hargreaves and Terror

Miss Perry, Annie Hargreaves and Terror. Canterbury Museum Album 115

Daisy Milford and Terror

Daisy Milford and Terror. Canterbury Museum Album 39

Terror appears frequently in Annie’s diaries and albums, showing what a well-loved member of the family he was. He often accompanied them to Timaru, and on at least one trip in 1874, Annie took him to Thomas Price’s photography studio. There he had his portrait taken with Annie and her friends. In one photograph, he is very obediently taking tea with Miss Perry, Annie and a cat. In another, he jumps up onto Daisy Milford to investigate something she is holding.

Annie wrote in her diary of the various exploits she and Terror had together in Timaru during a trip in 1875. One day she took him to the beach to teach Mrs Sealy’s dog Sailor-boy how to swim. Mrs Sealy got drenched by the waves and Sailor-boy refused to go in. Annie’s father decided that being a Newfoundland, Sailor-boy ought to like the water and proceeded to “dunk him well”.

Mrs Sealy and Sailor-boy

Mrs Sealy and Sailor-boy. Canterbury Museum Album 39

After a week in Timaru, the family prepared to return to Lyttelton. On their departure, Terror caused a bit of a commotion. Annie wrote in her diary: “Poor old Terror was very much alarmed as the boat was pushed off the beach, & in his fright, he jumped onto my lap, & smashed my new parasol for me – the old nuisance – however 'its no good crying over spilt milk', & I must get the thing mended I suppose.”

Page from Annie Hargreaves diary

Page from Annie Hargreaves diary, 15 February 1875. Canterbury Museum 68/52

Terror settled down for the remainder of the trip, making him useful by comforting Annie through her seasickness and keeping her warm until they reached home.

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