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)


  1. The bears never arrived and top of the stone wall had glass pieces to stop,one presumes bears escaping

    1. There was never any intention to have bears there, Paul. Have a read of The Zoo War.

  2. number 8 Garden terrace was the office for Quicks ferries as my Father was born and lived there till the property at number 9 was established.