Friday, November 7, 2008

Devonport's "Bear Gardens"

(Plaque on part of the "Bear Garden" wall -- sadly, what is known doesn't agree with the plaque.)

As I was writing The Zoo War this year, a couple of people I know mentioned Devonport's Bear Gardens in relation to early menageries in New Zealand. I had never heard of these before (but then again, I'm finding out stuff that's new to me almost every day, which is one of the reason why I love local history), so decided to do some digging. I was disappointed somewhat that the Devonport Museum was closed at the time, so I was unable to access any of their collections -- but what I found out via other sources led me to believe that the reason why I hadn't heard of this before was because it never truly existed as either a pleasure garden of the late-Victorian style, nor was it a menagerie of any size. Certainly, I found no documentation as to the bears.

The excerpt from The Zoo War on the Bear Gardens is uploaded to Scribd.

(Another part of the original concrete and scoria wall -- rapidly built, and now only partially standing. Bits of green bottle glass jut from the very top, a possible 20th century addition)

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