The three adult camels which offered rides to vistors to the New Zealand International Exhibition (1906-1907) were purchased in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to their departure to New Zealand, the camels gave birth. Accompanied by two baby camels, the three adult camels arrived in Christchurch in October 1906 onboard the S.S. Wimmera. After being unloaded they were conveyed to their destination by cattle trucks which were impractical given their long necks.
Featured as part of the “Wonderland” amusement park section of the exhibition, it cost 3d to ride a camel. The camel handlers were Aboriginal Australians from South Australia. The use of animals at the exhibition was inspected by representatives of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but it was found that the camels were not being mistreated.
The exhibition closed in April 1907, after which some of the “Wonderland” amusements were dismantled and removed to Wellington where they were put on display at Miramar. Although one of the camels died in June 1907, the rest were relocated to Wellington. Following the Miramar “Wonderland” show, one of the camels was given to the zoo in Wellington.
Do you have any photographs of the New Zealand International Exhibition (1906-1907)? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.
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