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November - Brendan Lennard, Beaumaris Zoo, an illustrated history

Published: Friday, 1 November 2019

Hobart City Council Senior Heritage Officer Brendan Lennard describes the development and demise of Hobart’s Beaumaris Zoo. The Hobart City Council established the Beaumaris Zoological Gardens on the Queen’s Domain in 1923, having acquired Mary Grant Roberts’ collection of birds and mammals. In this presentation to THRA, Brendan will describe the development of the proud new municipal enterprise. Drawing on many historical and recent photographs, the audience will be taken on a ‘tour’ of the corporation zoo, with anecdotes of the people and groups associated with the site, and some startling stories of its inhabitants. The presentation concludes with an analysis of the factors that led to the zoo’s demise after 14½ years – a ‘perfect storm’ of tragic events. In the 1930s people said 'if the zoo closes now, we’ll never see anything like it in Hobart again' – a prediction which has proven to be true.

Brendan Lennard has been a THRA member for over thirty years. Previous papers presented by Brendan include a biography of the first Tasmanian-born architect, William Archer (1820-1874), an illustrated biography of the life and work of architect, Alan Cameron Walker (1864-1931) and a musical exploration of Dame Nellie Melba in Tasmania. Part of Brendan’s role as the Senior Cultural Heritage Officer of the City of Hobart involves community education and the interpretation of Hobart’s cultural assets. He has been conducting tours of the old Beaumaris Zoo site for over twenty years and is currently preparing a long-overdue illustrated history of the zoo.