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a vase of flowers on a tree

This is what is 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 in 1884. Prior to that, Sydney’s main zoo was positioned in the Botanic Gardens.

The Moore Park Zoo was created after the NSW Zoological Society was established in 1879. It was constructed on seven acres of land known as Billygoat Swamp. The zoo housed two elephants, including one donated by the King of Siam. There was a collection of birds donated from the Botanic Gardens Zoo.

The zoo fell on hard times and relied on Government assistance to survive. It came as no surprise that the zoo flooded often. No one thought that building on a swamp might do that!  It was also closed by disease, including for six weeks during the bubonic plague in 1902. Even so, the zoo was immensely popular in 1910 a new site was required. Taronga Zoo at Bradly’s Head was selected as the new site.

The old Moore Park site has become the home of Sydney Girls High (1921) and later Sydney Boys High (1928). These schools were located in the city beforehand. You can find out where on our Skirting Sydney walking experience.

IMAGE CREDIT: Jezilly@flickr