This is a photo of what’s left of one of Sydney’s first zoos. This is a bear pit within the grounds of Sydney Girls High, at Moore Park.
The Moore Park Zoological Gardens opened here in 1884. Prior to that, Sydney’s main zoo was located in the Botanic Gardens, close to the city. But I’ll provide a separate post on that later.
The Moore Park Zoo came about after the formation of the NSW Zoological Society in 1879. It was built on 7 acres of land which was then known as Billygoat Swamp. It contained two elephants including one that was donated by the King of Siam, while a collection of birds were donated from the aforementioned Botanic Gardens zoo.
The zoo went through periods of financial difficulties and relied on Government grants to survive. It flooded often which is somewhat to be expected when you build on a swamp. It was also closed on occasion due to disease, including for 6 weeks during the bubonic plague in 1902. Despite these difficulties its popularity saw it grow in size until around 1910 a new site was required, with the current site of Taronga zoo at Bradly’s head chosen.
The new zoo opened its doors in 1916 which means Taronga zoo celebrates its 100th anniversary at Bradly’s Head this year.
The old Moore Park site has since become the home of Sydney Girls High (1921) and later Sydney Boys High (1928).
Note:I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.