Have you ever been in the Ballarat Botanic Gardens, near the old derelict sound shell, and noticed all these funny looking concrete shell like structures dotted among the trees and lawns?
When first sighted, an incorrect assumption could very easily be made that they are part of some kind of very expensive, obtusely meaningful and symbolic art installation that cost ratepayers a fortune somewhere in the distant past. What the concrete “Sculptures” actually are, is some remaining relics of the former zoo that used to exis
t on the site, dating back to the 1960’s.
The area is a very popular dog walking area for Lake Wendouree residents, and we engaged in some idle chit-chat with some of the canine owners, none of which had any inkling as to what the concrete shapes on the lawns were… apart from the fact that one owners little dog loved hiding in one when it rained to shelter from the elements.
Interestingly, here I found a story that when the zoo closed down, one bloke was lucky enough to obtain the concrete “house” shell which used to shelter the dingoes on display when the zoo closed down and was dismantled.
Other research I have done suggests that the zoo had on display 2 polar bears, eagles, and big cats of some description, including a tiger.
Over the years in Ballarat and the Pyranees region, an urban myth exists that a Puma was running about in the bush, with multiple sightings, and even pawprint castings made to verify its existence.
Incidentally, Warramwang Vineyard releases a very special vintage wine every year called “Black Puma” which celebrates the urban legend of the big cat being loose in the wine region.
Big Cat sightings in the Victorian Bush around Melbourne and into central and western Victoria have been reported for over 60 years, though no absolutely definitive or conclusive evidence has come to light.
A theory exists that they cats may be descendants of big cats brought to Australia by american soldiers who kept them as platoon mascots during the second world war, and that they were released rather than sold or destroyed.
An interesting Herald sun article published in response to an alleged recent sighting in December 2016 chronicles the major suspected spottings of the cats around Victoria.
Bernie Mace, a Natrualist Based in Toorlangi has been researching and documenting the sightings for a period of over 30 years. He believes that eventually an accidental roadkill, or clear, reliable footage will eventually surface to prove the existance of the cats in Victoria.