Grasp the Alligator

A fancy fountain from Dunedin Botanic Garden, New Zealand dating back to 1890 when it was “Erected and presented to the citizens of Dunedin by Wolf Harris Esq”, not here but at Queens Gardens in the city. It was removed after WW1 in favour of the Cenotaph, then stored until it was resurrected for the NZ and South Seas Exhibition, Logan Park, 1925-26 and erected in the ‘grand court’. Later it was relocated to the Shakespeare garden at the Botanic Garden.

Wolf Harris was one of Dunedin’s successful businessmen and I found his great, great grandson on social media. His ‘about’ page referred to “Wolf Harris who supplied clothing to the gold miners in Dunedin in the 1800’s.”


I have a question for fellow bloggers Ted and Ellen Jennings who hail from South Carolina, they see and photograph alligators all the time. Do you think these chubby cherubs are clutching alligators? My guess is alligators, and I found a caption at Wikipedia that had ‘query alligators’ in the description so that reinforced my thinking.

Strangely the cafe in the botanic gardens is named the Croque-o-dile Cafe, which leaves me more confused than ever! It used to have these neat crocodiles painted on the walls inside but they’ve been painted over in recent years. I did photograph the interior though, for a blogpost, and I’m so thankful now that I did 🙂

There is also a heron perched at the fountain’s apex. [I saw it referred to as a ‘heron’ when it had to be repaired after vandalism but I’m unsure if it really resembles a heron].

It doesn’t seem a very ‘New Zealand’ fountain lol. I couldn’t find any info on designer or creator. When I mentioned this, Nigel wondered if it’d been sent here from overseas. Which prompted me to say in jest, “perhaps it came from Charleston, South Carolina!” 😀

Photos taken by Liz 28 April 2021 (autumn).

Click on any photo to enlarge.

I cropped this from the second photo to give you an idea of the upper fountain..

Finally, I found this interesting tweet that shows an image of the fountain when it was installed in Queens Gardens (then called ‘The Triangle’).


Text and photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2021)

11 thoughts on “Grasp the Alligator

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    1. Aha, since you confirm they have the alligator look I’ll think of them as alligators! I’d love to know where the fountain originated from and who designed it, couldn’t find anything about that. Thanks Ted.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s a nice fountain! So glad it wasn’t discarded when they put up the war memorial. Cherubs in Western art are usually doing something nonsensical, like getting naked and playing with dangerous reptiles, a fun tradition. Those leaves look like people have tossed golden coins into the water instead of pennies.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have an opinion. 🙂 Maybe they are caimans which are smaller although they could be baby alligators. Either way, it’s an interesting fountain and I was pleased after a closer look and then reading your words that it wasn’t one of those gag cherubs spoiling the waters. 🙂

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    1. Your opinion is most welcome Steve! These cherubs are way more classy 🙂 Amused to search ‘caiman’ and find a Britannica page on dangerous crocodilians that mentioned ‘The Worldwide Crocodilian Attack Database (CrocBITE) 😀 It’s run by an Australian university. I found the Britannica info page really interesting so I’ll leave a link for any interested readers: https://www.britannica.com/list/7-crocodilian-species-that-are-dangerous-to-humans

      Liked by 1 person

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