Adelaide Zoo (continued):

    Fourteen specimens within the South Australian Museum collection note the Adelaide Zoo as their definite or probable source (ITSD, 5th Revision).  Unfortunately, the museum records are incomplete with respect to the dates these specimens were received.  In some cases, newspaper reports have enabled us to fill in some of the gaps in the records.  The South Australian Register of the 10th November 1886 (p. 3) notes the death of a thylacine at Adelaide Zoo and the donation of its body to the South Australian Museum:

    "The misfortune of the Zoo in losing by death its 'Tasmanian Wolf' (Thylacinus cynocephalus, or dog-headed Thylacinus) has enriched the Museum".

    In an article entitled "Adelaide Museum" in the Adelaide Observer of the 25th November 1899 (p. 15), it records the donation of "four Tasmanian tiger-wolves" to the museum from the zoological society.

Map of Adelaide Zoo, 1898.  Place your pointer over the map to magnify.  Location of hyena dens marked in red.

    Occasionally, local newspapers reported on the addition of a thylacine to a zoological collection.  The South Australian Register in an article entitled "Zoological Gardens" dated 16th August 1897 (p. 4), records the arrival of a thylacine at the Adelaide Zoo:

    "Tasmanian marsupial tiger has been added to the collection.  These animals are very difficult to obtain, and it was only after long negotiation and considerable correspondence that this one was secured".

    Adelaide Zoo's thylacine display terminated with the death of its last specimen in September 1902.

Mercury, 6th February 1897
An advertisement for thylacines by Adelaide Zoo, from the Mercury of the 6th February 1897 (p. 3).

    The zoo's Director, A. C. Minchin, still had hopes of obtaining further thylacines.  In a newspaper article entitled "Down at the Zoo", published in the Adelaide newspaper "The Journal", dated the 10th April 1913 (p. 1), it states:

    "A pair of Tasmanian devils has been introduced and the Director (A. C. Minchin) is endeavouring to get a marsupial wolf from the island State".

    Mr Minchin's efforts proved unsuccessful.

Moore Park Zoo [Sydney]:

    Moore Park was Sydney's first zoo, established in 1879.  Dr. Bob Paddle (2012, p. 85) states that Moore Park exhibited two thylacines; the first acquired from Thomas Jennings on the 15th October 1885, and the second from a Mr. Stephenson in March 1900.

    The departure from Hobart of the first thylacine to be exhibited at Moore Park is recorded in the Mercury newspaper on the 13th October 1885 (p. 2), in an article entitled "Mr Jennings Tiger"

    "This animal, which, under the careful treatment of Mr. Morton, curator of the Museum, has wonderfully improved in appearance since its capture, was yesterday put on board the S.S. Flora for transit to the Sydney Zoological Gardens.  The animal was caged in a hutch, the front of which was wired in, and he looked as happy as it was possible to look under his changed circumstances.  A great number of people viewed him during the afternoon, one gentleman testing the strength of his bite by introducing the handle of his umbrella, which came off second best.  The gift will, no doubt, receive its due appreciation from the Sydney folks".

thylacine - Moore Park Zoo (circa 1900-1905)
thylacine - Moore Park Zoo (circa 1900-1905)
Two views of the Moore Park Zoo's second thylacine, circa 1900-1905.
Courtesy: Australian Museum.

The Examiner newspaper of the 13th March 1900 (p. 4) records the capture of the second thylacine destined for Moore Park Zoo:

    "For some time past the managers of the Zoological Gardens, Sydney, have been desirous of securing a Tasmanian tiger.  A fine specimen of a young tiger was captured by Mr. Stephenson, manager of the Williatt estate, on the North Esk, about a fortnight ago, which was brought into the city, and placed in the local Zoo for safe keeping. The animal was forwarded to Sydney by the steamer Wakatipu yesterday".

    In March 2016, whilst working on the museum's latest revision, Dr. Stephen Sleightholme and the museum's curator, Cameron Campbell, discovered compelling evidence to suggest that more than two thylacines were exhibited at Moore Park Zoo.

    In the Sydney Morning Herald of the 6th September 1886 (p. 9), minutes of a meeting of the Zoological Society of NSW were published, in which an offer of two thylacines for Moore Park from the City Park Zoo in Launceston was accepted:

    "A letter was read from Mr. McGowan, of Launceston, offering two Tasmanian wolves for £12, delivered in Sydney.  The secretary reported that he had accepted the offer by cablegram".

    In addition, the Queanbeyan Age newspaper of the 9th September 1886 (p. 2) states that: "The Sydney Zoo is to be enriched by two Tasmanian wolves".

    Sleightholme & Campbell continued with their investigation and finally obtained proof that the inferred sale in the Sydney Morning Herald and Queanbeyan Age newspaper reports did indeed take place. The Sydney Morning Herald of the 4th October 1886 (p. 3) states: 

    "The following specimens have been acquired by purchase since the preceeding monthly meeting: - A Russian eagle, two Tasmanian wolves, two cassowaries".

    The two thylacines purchased from City Park Zoo were probably from the Cooper family group captured at Waterhouse Station on the 9th July 1886, and take the total of known thylacines displayed at Moore Park from 2 to 4.

    Further, the Evening News (Sydney) of the 5th September 1891 (p. 11) reported on a meeting of the Zoological Society of NSW, the minutes of which state that a Tasmanian wolf had recently died at the garden:

    "The superintendent reported that a Tasmanian wolf and a musk deer had died. The rest of the collection was in good condition".

    The date of death (Aug 1891) does not coincide with the date of deaths of the two known specimens, which confirms that the zoo had thylacines on display that no one was previously aware of.

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