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Certainly per European history shows Tasmanian Tigers-Zebra Wolfs (Thylacine) roamed large parts of main land Australia. There is plenty of evidence in fossil remains and Aboriginal cave art. But is it possible they still lived in Victoria as little as 100 years ago. Interesting idea when the last known Thylacine died at the Hobart Zoo on the 7th of September 1936, and Thylacine’s were declared extinct by international standards in 1986. However there are many accounts of wolf-lions-tiger like animals killing live stock through Gippsland, North East and central Victoria and as far as Tantanoola in South Australia. Below is an account of animal killed by a farmer on the 29th June 1916 at Mirboo North, South Gippsland, Victoria.

The sheep-killing animal that was found poisoned in Mr J. Gilfedder’s paddock, close to the Mirboo North township, Victoria recently, does not appear to be either a dingo or a fox. It was two or three times as large as either of those animals. It had the legs, paws and nails of a dog, and the snout and tail of a fox or a dingo. Its mode of killing sheep was to worry their rumps and pull away some of the entrails. Residents who saw-it say that it was a cross between a dingo or a fox and a dog. To ascertain if possible what the animal was, Mr. Gilfedder intends sending the skull, claws and tail to the Director of the Melbourne Zoo, who is recognised as an authority on animals. Some people at Yinnar who had sheep destroyed in the way described poisoned the carcases; but the animal would not take the bait. A successful way to destroy any other of such breed as turn up among sheep is to skin rabbits and put them in a fire, and thus destroy the smell of the hands, and use one as a trail, and cut others, and lay the baits along the trail, without touching them with the hands. This was the method Mr Gilfedder used. Since the death of the animal we have not heard of any sheep being worried around the district. Mr Gilfedder received the following letter from Mr D. Gibson, of the National Bank, Maffra: – “Dear Sir, – I saw in the paper some few days ago that you had poisoned an animal, somewhat like a dingo, but larger, that had been destroying your sheep. I enclose a rough sketch of the Tasmanian zebra wolf, in the hope that it may enable you to identify it with that animal. I and others have seen them up in the mountains; but the fact of their being indigenous to Victoria has never been established by their capture. Probably they are the animal vaguely called the ‘Tantanoola tiger’ and the ‘Morwell lion,’ which has been seen in so many localities. The zebra wolf is a marsupial, coloured from French-grey to russet brown, according to the season, and striped with dark brown to black on back and tail, and less conspicuously on the legs. The coat is short and close, build very strong, pads especially large for its size, powerful hindquarters, progresses either at a trot or by long bounds, height at shoulder 2ft. 6in. to 3ft. I have seen one in captivity which stood on its hind legs over 5ft. high. They are night prowlers, and carry their young in a pouch. They use hollow logs, etc., to camp in, and cover long distances, rarely coming out in the daylight. This is the reason why they have escaped capture so long. The skin or cleaned skeleton would be eagerly purchased by either Melbourne Zoo (D. Le Soeuf), or the National Gallery Museum. Probably they would fetch £20 or so; so they are worth saving.”

On This Day …… 22nd June 1928

Alarm was caused in certain suburbs on the 22nd of June 1928, when a report was circulated that a lion had escaped from the Royal Park Zoo, Melbourne. A statement to that effect was said to have been broadcast by radio, but all the broadcasting stations gave it an emphatic denial. Attendants at the zoo and the proprietors of a circus in the city when communicated with visited the quarters of their lions, and found that none of the animals was missing. Nevertheless people in the areas surrounding the Royal Park Zoo and farther out remained at home for the evening. Tightly closing the doors of their houses, they equipped themselves with shotguns and other arms in the event of a visit from one of the carnivores. So far no lion has been seen.

 

Melbourne – February 1st, 1946

The recent heat wave in Melbourne is thought to have been responsible for the death of ‘three of the quintuplets born to the lioness Jinja at the Zoo.

The births are an Australian and possibly a world record. Zoo officials are now desperately striving to save the lives of the two surviving cubs.

In addition to the three lion cubs, the two platypuses. Hero and Leander were also victims of the heat wave. Like the platypuses at the Healesville sanctuary. Hero and Leander had attracted world-wide interest.

On this day …….. 8th of December 1932

Shortly after the arrival at the Melbourne Zoo of a pair of young chimpanzees, two keepers each received a smack in the eye. Another was pulled off a ladder, and a fourth attendant narrowly escaped a blow from a billet of wood. The director of the zoo (Mr. Wilkie) said that he was sure the new arrivals would shortly be “star” performers at the zoo. The newcomers rose with the dawn on this day in 1932, and immediately howled loudly for their breakfast. Mr. Wilkie heard the noise from his home, and hurried down with four raw eggs, two slices of bread and jam, two pieces of cake, several bananas, and two oranges.

On this day …….. 6th of October 1862

The first zoo to open in Australia was the Melbourne Zoo, which opened on this day in 1862. Modelled after the London Zoo, it featured formal Victorian-era gardens and just a few specimens of monkeys, as well as a limited display of native animals. The zoo began to change in character with the appointment of Albert le Souef as Director in 1870. He began to acquire a wider variety of exotic animals such as black bears, lions and tigers. As the zoo gained in popularity, the gardens were extended, more animals added and, in 1881, an entry fee introduced.

 

On this day …….. 19th September 1944

Queenie was an elephant who was used to give rides for children at Melbourne Zoo for 40 years. Queenie was a very popular exhibit, with large crowds of children often gathering around her enclosure even when she was not giving rides. She was often teased by children and her keeper, Andrew Wilkie, said she would retaliate by using her trunk to “tumble such trespassers over in the dust”. “On one occasion, a group of about fifteen schoolboys were teasing Queenie by offering her nuts and fruit in turn and then withdrawing the food just as she reached for it. This game continued for a while until the elephant retreated to the pool behind her house. She returned some minutes later and, imitating their behaviour, held out her trunk to each boy in turn, withdrawing it before they would touch it. The boys were delighted with this variation of the game until, as if carrying out a pre-planned attack, she soaked them all thoroughly with a well-aimed spray of dirty water from her pool.” Source: Melbourne Zoo. Queenie killed her keeper Wilfred Lawson on the 19th of September 1944, in front of zoo visitors. After Lawson’s death, a coroner’s inquest found her guilty of killing her keeper. Following public support, the zoo board decided to keep her as an exhibit. But nine months later, officially due to a war-time shortage of fodder, Queenie was destroyed.

 

On This Day ……. 7th September 1948

On the 7th of September 1948, Lions were loose at the Melbourne zoo at the height of the storm at 3am., but the zoo authorities said they were only little ones. They were the three six months’ old cubs, Wally, Stew, and Flo. They escaped when a tree smashed their cage in the pets corner. The head keeper (Mr. S. Campbell) heard the crash of the falling tree about 3am. He went hunting for the cubs, and soon shepherded two of them into an undamaged cage. The third was found four hours later squatting dejectedly among a number of unconcerned kangaroos in the Australian section.

 

Certainly per European history shows Tasmanian Tigers-Zebra Wolfs (Thylacine) roamed large parts of main land Australia. There is plenty of evidence in fossil remains and Aboriginal cave art. But is it possible they still lived in Victoria as little as 100 years ago. Interesting idea when the last known Thylacine died at the Hobart Zoo on the 7th of September 1936, and Thylacine’s were declared extinct by international standards in 1986. However there are many accounts of wolf-lions-tiger like animals killing live stock through Gippsland, North East and central Victoria and as far as Tantanoola in South Australia. Below is an account of animal killed by a farmer on the 29th June 1916 at Mirboo North, South Gippsland, Victoria.

The sheep-killing animal that was found poisoned in Mr J. Gilfedder’s paddock, close to the Mirboo North township, Victoria recently, does not appear to be either a dingo or a fox. It was two or three times as large as either of those animals. It had the legs, paws and nails of a dog, and the snout and tail of a fox or a dingo. Its mode of killing sheep was to worry their rumps and pull away some of the entrails. Residents who saw-it say that it was a cross between a dingo or a fox and a dog. To ascertain if possible what the animal was, Mr. Gilfedder intends sending the skull, claws and tail to the Director of the Melbourne Zoo, who is recognised as an authority on animals. Some people at Yinnar who had sheep destroyed in the way described poisoned the carcases; but the animal would not take the bait. A successful way to destroy any other of such breed as turn up among sheep is to skin rabbits and put them in a fire, and thus destroy the smell of the hands, and use one as a trail, and cut others, and lay the baits along the trail, without touching them with the hands. This was the method Mr Gilfedder used. Since the death of the animal we have not heard of any sheep being worried around the district. Mr Gilfedder received the following letter from Mr D. Gibson, of the National Bank, Maffra: – “Dear Sir, – I saw in the paper some few days ago that you had poisoned an animal, somewhat like a dingo, but larger, that had been destroying your sheep. I enclose a rough sketch of the Tasmanian zebra wolf, in the hope that it may enable you to identify it with that animal. I and others have seen them up in the mountains; but the fact of their being indigenous to Victoria has never been established by their capture. Probably they are the animal vaguely called the ‘Tantanoola tiger’ and the ‘Morwell lion,’ which has been seen in so many localities. The zebra wolf is a marsupial, coloured from French-grey to russet brown, according to the season, and striped with dark brown to black on back and tail, and less conspicuously on the legs. The coat is short and close, build very strong, pads especially large for its size, powerful hindquarters, progresses either at a trot or by long bounds, height at shoulder 2ft. 6in. to 3ft. I have seen one in captivity which stood on its hind legs over 5ft. high. They are night prowlers, and carry their young in a pouch. They use hollow logs, etc., to camp in, and cover long distances, rarely coming out in the daylight. This is the reason why they have escaped capture so long. The skin or cleaned skeleton would be eagerly purchased by either Melbourne Zoo (D. Le Soeuf), or the National Gallery Museum. Probably they would fetch £20 or so; so they are worth saving.”

On This Day …… 22nd June 1928

Alarm was caused in certain suburbs on the 22nd of June 1928, when a report was circulated that a lion had escaped from the Royal Park Zoo, Melbourne. A statement to that effect was said to have been broadcast by radio, but all the broadcasting stations gave it an emphatic denial. Attendants at the zoo and the proprietors of a circus in the city when communicated with visited the quarters of their lions, and found that none of the animals was missing. Nevertheless people in the areas surrounding the Royal Park Zoo and farther out remained at home for the evening. Tightly closing the doors of their houses, they equipped themselves with shotguns and other arms in the event of a visit from one of the carnivores. So far no lion has been seen.

 

ON THIS DAY ……… 16th March 1883

The elephant at the Melbourne Zoo is thriving splendidly, and will be ready to carry children on the 16th March 1883.

 

 

On this day ………… 22nd February 1914

On this day in 1914 a leopard escaped from its cage at the Melbourne Zoological Gardens, and was found prowling outside the room in which the director’s three daughters were sleeping. The director rushed at the animal, which escaped from the grounds and wandered to the suburb of Brunswick, where it got into the yard of a house and sprang at Miss Waters, who had just time to get inside the house and close the door in safety. A neighbour’s assistance was called in, and he shot the animal with a service rifle.

 

 

On this day ………… 16th February 1938

A CHILD visiting the Melbourne Zoological Garden saw a ‘kitten’ in a tiger’s cage on this day in 1938, and rushed to inform the Director, who found that the tigress during the night had given birth to four cubs. As she ate her last cub, the kittens were removed from her and mothered by a dog from the Lost Dogs’ Home.