Historic pictures of Sydney’s first public zoo at Moore Park and the creation of the Taronga Park zoo are on display at a new exhibition at NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney.














One of the historical photographs from the exhibition: Elephant ride, Zoological Gardens, Moore Park, date unknown. NSW State Government Printing Office.

Through rarely seen archival material and historical photographs, A Tale of Two Zoos offers a glimpse of Moore Park Zoo (1884 – 1916), the early years of the newly created Taronga Zoological Park and the animals that delighted generations of visitors. In 1916, amid the great upheaval of World War I, Sydneysiders were fascinated by the remarkable spectacle of hundreds of animals moving through city streets and across the harbour to their new home on the north shore. Jessie, the beloved elephant who delighted crowds for over 50 years, travelled on foot through the city streets to Bennelong Point where she boarded a ferry to cross the Harbour to her new home. Her 90 minute journey was keenly documented in local press, captivating the public’s hearts and imagination.

A Tale of Two Zoos is the 4th collaboration between the NSW State Archives and Sydney Living Museums bringing life to our history and the stories held within these organisations’ immense and important collections. The images on display are drawn from the recently digitised glass-plate negatives held within the NSW State Archives’ Government Printing Office collection. Entry is free of charge and the exhibition remains open until 3 March 2022. A sister, family-focused, interactive exhibition, How To Move A Zoo, can also be viewed at the Museum of Sydney until 24 April 2022.