Zoological Collection and wildlife

Animals were part of the story of the CBG from the beginning. While the zoological collection was a sideshow for the main botanical events, a visit to see the monkeys, birds  and the giant tortoises was a very popular activity. The best zoo exhibits were in the Interwar when E.W. Bick was curator as he was also an avid naturalist.

The most famous resident animal(s) were the pair of Giant Galapogos Tortoises! It is estimated the pair were born in 1830 and were collected by Charles Darwin. Everyone hoped the pair would breed but they turned out to be both females! Oops! Harriet survived and was given over to another Zoo when our zoological collection was closed in the late 1950s. Harriet eventually died in 2007 (aged about 177 years) as the most loved resident of Australia Zoo. People still remember Harriet loved to eat hibiscus flowers. Here’s more of her story: https://www.australiazoo.com.au/our-animals/harriet/

Wild birds were and are attracted to the lagoons and ponds within the CBG. European white swans joined the native black swans in the 19th century enjoying the Albert Street lagoon. Today there are several kinds of ducks, swamp hens and pesky Ibis and more. Other animals in the story include useful horses for pulling mowing machines and carts and pests such as cane toads and river eels that eat the baby ducks and other birds!

Here is the list of fauna found in 1993: >>> Fauna survey 1993

The botanic gardens became a quarantine station for Customs at one stage and when any animal died the body was given to the Queensland Museum for study and sometimes they became exhibits yet again (thank you to the taxidermists)! You can read more in Helen Hamley’s brief history on the CBG history page >>> http://brisbanebotanictreasures.info/brisbane-city-botanic-gardens/city-botanic-gardens-history/



Here are a few historical images of the zoological collection:

SLV  H36531-18-197

SLQ/JOL 194779p


BCC-A479a Japanese Bears shelter (1900s)

  SLV H36531-18-196

BCC B54-2673 1952 aviaries

  BCC-A293 Culling the river eels (1930s)

BCC-14040 lung fish in pond!

MORE TO COME! Includes early zoological collection and current wildlife and vermin!
Gallery of old images + selected current common residents (swamp hen, sacred ibis, river eel, possum, bush-turkey, water dragon, canetoads) which we will present à la design of the pictograms for What’s Flowering with scientific and common names and families (data sourced from Queensland Museum publications).