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On this day …….. 30th of January 1946

Melbourne Zoo has lost three lion cubs and two platypuses. Three of the five lion cubs born a fortnight earlier died and Hero and Leander the two platypuses, died within an hour of each other on this day during the heat wave.

 

 

On this day …….. 15th of January 1936

On this day in 1936, a baby silver gull escaped from the wire netting enclosure at the Melbourne Zoo, into the water birds’ aviary, and was swallowed by a pelican. The silver gulls, after rearing one chick, nested a second time, and the pelican’s victim was hatched from one of the eggs of this latest clutch a few days ago.

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

On this day …….. 30th of January 1946

Melbourne Zoo has lost three lion cubs and two platypuses. Three of the five lion cubs born a fortnight earlier died and Hero and Leander the two platypuses, died within an hour of each other on this day during the heat wave.

 

 

On this day …….. 15th of January 1936

On this day in 1936, a baby silver gull escaped from the wire netting enclosure at the Melbourne Zoo, into the water birds’ aviary, and was swallowed by a pelican. The silver gulls, after rearing one chick, nested a second time, and the pelican’s victim was hatched from one of the eggs of this latest clutch a few days ago.