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John Oxley Library

Brisbane Zoological Gardens

By JOL Admin | 21 December 2009

Did you know that up until 1958 the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens included a zoo?  The Zoological Gardens contained over time, a bear pit, a deer and Australian animal compound and several aviaries.   In its half century of existence,  over a million people reportedly visited the attractions.  There were Capuchin monkeys, baboons, kangaroos, wallabies, deer, antelope, foxes, dingoes and rabbits.  The aviaries contained over 400 bird species including swans, Egyptian geese, Green or Burmese Pea Fowl, wonga, Topknot pigeons, budgies, peacocks, galahs cockatoos parrots and rosellas.   Perhaps one of the most famous inhabitants was a giant Galapagos Island tortoise called Harriet who was allegedly originally captured by Charles Darwin in the 1830s and brought to Australia in the 1840s.

 Brisbane Zoo. Museum Victoria. Record Number MMOO8723.

Although the zoo was officially recognised as an A class zoo in the 1930s, it was closed in 1958 due to conflicts of interest, the cost of upkeep of the animals and the poor state of the animal enclosures (Courier Mail 12 August 1958).  The grounds were redesigned by Harry Oakman under the curatorship of Harold Caulfield and became a purely botanic garden.


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