Around Christmas 1950, twin white cats were spotted atop the southern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There they remained. It seemed the pair had decided it was the best location in the city, with world class views. Well really, who could blame them?
The snowy residents were much loved by the public. Sydney’s Sun Herald newspaper published an illustrated feature on them in July 1951.
The Sun’s piece stated that the pair were cared for by staff at the pylon’s look-out, who would put milk and food out for them on the narrow parapet. Talk about life on the edge. If one cat wanted to pass the other it would have to make a death defying leap over its companion’s back.
But Bridget and Pylon felt perfectly secure in their eyrie. I guess you would if you had incredible feline agility and nine lives!
On one occasion a well-meaning person carried Bridget down to ground level. However, as soon as she was released she scampered straight back up.
In 1953 another well intentioned person, visiting from Melbourne, wrote a letter of complaint to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald;
There is no suggestion that Bridget and Pylon were sick, so it’s to be hoped someone put G. Hughes’ mind at rest.
The 1951 newspaper article had given the impression that the cats were strays. However, a chap called Bob Crampton says they were definitely not homeless; ‘My mother worked at the souvenir shop at the lookout and took the two cats in. They lived there for many years. When they died, Mrs Rentoul brought in some other white cats.’
Mrs Yvonne Rentoul was the manager of the lookout’s museum and tearoom. It was probably these later cats that featured in the brochure and photos shown below;
Oh my word, I’m not sure that merry-go-round pictured was in the best interest of the cats. Let’s hope it was their own idea.
The white cats have long gone from the Harbour Bridge, but they are remembered with great affection and nostalgia.
When I first published this piece many people shared their memories. I love this one of seeing a ‘bridge’ cat in an aerial hammock. Many thanks Noni….not a sight you would easily forget!
In 1969 a charming film starring the cats was made for the children’s television show, Playschool. To watch it, CLICK HERE
HERE IS A RIVETING STORY OF THE BRIDGE.