The Mad Bull of Tuam Street – 1920

One cold day in July 1920, the Addington Saleyards were packed with all kinds of hoof stock ready to go to auction – as it had been doing since 1874.

Alone in his own pen was, what was described as ‘…a fat steer…’ who awaited his turn under the auction hammer. Maybe sensing that his only fate lay with a butcher, he broke free from his yard and at a steady gallop, headed straight towards Christchurch city.

In entering Tuam Street at a trot (from Hagley Ave, then known as lower Lincoln Road) the street before him cleared pretty quickly, people ducking into nearby hotels and gardens. At this time, an Addington Saleyard drover on horseback arrived at the Bull’s rear to save the day but as he went to corral the animal, he realised he had left his stock whip behind.

So the Bull continued his journey unhindered, turning left onto Colombo Street. By this time, police and ambulance had been called. Amazingly, no was hurt until a Gentleman who had been at the Wellington Hotel – situated on Colombo Street opposite Victoria Square – decided to exit onto the street to take a look at what all the fuss was about. He got a closer look than he had expected as the Bull tossed him over his back, prodding him twice for good measure with his horns before moving on. The shocked, winded man was quickly scraped off the street and fed Brandy and soda to help restore his nerves. Later that night, he walked home from the hospital with only a minor head wound and a great tale to tell.

From behind shop counters, girders and doorways, people continued to witness the Bull’s last adventure. A lady leaving a shop was the next victim, also being sent unharmed over the beast’s back as he headed back to Tuam Street.

It was in Tuam Street that the animal was successfully herded into a vacant lot. In what seemed like a strange move, some cattle from the Addington Stock yards were herded to the escapee. In the company of the other animals, the Bull happily and calmly returned to the Addington Stock yards, leaving a shocked but mostly unhurt Christchurch behind.

Please note the attached photo was not taken in Christchurch.

*Images courtesy of Cowboy Showcase –*

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