Presentation on Queenie the elephant at Broadford Probus Club
Last Monday I traveled to Broadford, a little Victorian country town about 1.5 hours from the city of Melb0urne. Being a public holiday I was lucky enough to have my husband act as driver for the day, which was a special treat.
Leaving home via the Western Ring Road and Hume Highway, we ventured in and out of blanketing clouds of fog which became thicker on every hill and rise.
We were welcomed at the Broadford Bowls Club by a lovely group of about 60 Probus members, some having been lucky enough to ride on Queenie when she walked the circuit at the Melbourne Zoo from 1905 to 1944, for almost 40 years, carrying up to 12 passengers at time. Members enjoyed seeing zoo photos of Queenie and other animals ‘who’ resided at the Melbourne Zoo back then and I spoke to the group about the differences in modern day zoos and especially the Melbourne Zoo today. I explained how children especially love hearing about Queenie, her iconic status and in schools I address the issue of the way animals were treated in zoos back then, in contrast to the way they are cared for today.
We ambled home through the undulating hills of Flowerdale and Kinglake and marveled at the recovery of the beautiful bushland and the restoration and building works that have been undertaken in an area that was hit so devastatingly by the 2009 bushfires. And from the highest point in Kinglake, in mid-afternoon we gazed at the tops of the Melbourne city high-rises, peeping out of the fog.