|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Background: Establishment of the Royal Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria (VA 3123) and the Melbourne Zoological Gardens
In October 1857 the Zoological Society of Victoria was formed with the aim of the introduction and acclimatisation of animals, birds, fishes, and plants, both useful and ornamental. The Melbourne Zoological Gardens were the first to be established in Australia. The first collections were housed in the Richmond Paddock opposite the Melbourne Botanic Garden. In 1861 the title was changed to the "Acclimatisation Society of Victoria", in 1870 to the "Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria", the prefix "Royal" being added in 1910. The animals were transferred to the present site in Royal Park in 1862. Although acclimatisation was one of the objects during the first decade at Royal Park, the efforts of the Society were gradually directed towards developing the Gardens and acquiring animals for exhibition purposes.
Establishment of the Zoological Board of Victoria (VA 572)
The Royal Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria controlled the Zoological Gardens until 1937 when financial difficulties were encountered and the Society requested the Victorian Government to assume responsibility for the Zoological Gardens and its extensive collections. As a result the Zoological Gardens Act 1936 appointed the Zoological Board of Victoria, a statutory body, on which the society was represented until its final disbandment in the 1950s.
Functions administered under the Zoological Parks and Gardens Act 1967 namely responsibility for the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, from 1975 the Werribee Fauna/Zoological Park, and from 1978 the Sir Colin Mackenzie Fauna Park (Healesville Sanctuary) including:
- the exhibition of zoological specimens to the public,
- the scientific study of zoological specimens,
- the instruction and entertainment of the public,
- the protection, preservation, management and care of the wildlife,
- the protection or preservation of the wildlife habitat including native plants and trees
This agency was succeeded by Zoological Parks and Gardens Board (VA 4289) in 1995.