Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Symonds Street "Saurian Monster"

Readers of this blog may have previously come across The Great Waikato Saurian Hunt of '86 and its sequel.

Well, at the beginning of 1889, the story had still remained in the imagination of Aucklanders.

A Mr. Bell of Symonds Street, living next door to Mr. Sandall, a butcher, found in his back garden on 9 February 1889 "a creature strange to him, horrible to look at and about 20 inches long." He was about to kill it when a boy employed by Sandall asked for it. Sandall "was sure that he had secured the Waikato saurian, or a small edition at least, and sent off the news to town, at the same time confining the creature in a cage in front of his shop, regaling him with raw meat."

The Auckland Star despatched a representative to the new attraction, and pronounced that it was "a fine specimen of the 'Tuatara' lizard. It had evidently escaped from confinement somewhere, as these lizards are not found round the city."

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