Join our zoo community

G'Day.

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Terry Thomas, 9 Mar 2018.

  1. Terry Thomas

    Terry Thomas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    5 Mar 2018
    Posts:
    88
    Location:
    NSW
    I began work as an aviary attendant in January, 1956. Bleak Hall Bird Farm was, at that time, the largest private collection of birds in UK., with a stock of six thousand + birds. Was there for almost five years. Applied to Jersey Zoo, for position of keeper, but there were no vacancies at that time. Applied to Chessington Zoo and became keeper-in-charge of birds. Began studies of mammals and spent time on every section until, in 1962, I was made assistant-head keeper. Spent three years here and then emigrated to Australia. (Best move I ever made). Applied for position at Taronga and was interviewed by Sir Edward Holstrom. No vacancies, but was offered a job at his factory, making refridgerators. Declined the offer, and applied for position with CSIRO Division of Wildlife Research. Worked here for the next three years, mainly with waterfowl, and had a collection of every species in the country, also a variety of native mammal and reptile species. Applied for a position with the newly created Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Stayed here for the next six years. On technical staff, and carried out trapping survey of reserve, bird and reptile identification. Several species were introduced into large walk-through enclosures, including wallaroos, red roos, koalas, (caught, and brought from Victoria). Many of these were hand- raised. Had a variety of duties, including role of acting manager whenever the manager was absent.

    Went away from animals for the next six years. During this time my new wife and I went on a tour of zoos in UK and various countries in Europe. Many zoos and countries were visited, for the purpose
    of gaining knowledge of the way animals were being displayed etc.. On the way back to Australia we spent some time at Jurong Bird Park,Singapore, which at that time had the world's largest walk-through aviary.

    Armed with lots of new ideas we submitted a proposal to the then Dept. of Capital Territory, in Canberra, to develop the Canberra Wildlife Gardens. Three and a half years later we were given the go-ahead and work began on what later become Mugga Lane Zoo.

    Ten years later we sold the zoo, to folks we believed would continue to improve and grow the zoo.
    This proved to be quite the opposite, and they ran the place into the ground, finally closing about nine years later.

    After our move to NSW we owned a couple of small businesses, but ended up successfully farming ostriches. After this industry collapsed I began another small business, making documentaries of out-back travels and wildlife, mainly birds. Over a couple of years this business grew until, what began as a hobby, was beginning to be a serious business. I decided that I would slowly, and happily, let this venture die away,which it did over time. Many of my videos, and later DVDs, were sent overseas, and I often had feed-back, from all sorts of places.

    Have visited forty + countries, mainly observing wildlife, and have traveled all, except one, major out-back tracks in Australia. The longest journey so far was 17,000 kilometres; another was 14,000 ks. Looking forward to doing the one last big journey, in Western Australia, before too long -- possibly in the next few months time. Now almost 78, I am beginning to slow down!!

    If there is anyone out there who knows anyone who worked as a keeper at Chessington Zoo, 1960-63, I would be pleased to hear from them.
     
  2. agnmeln

    agnmeln Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Dec 2017
    Posts:
    1,201
    Welcome to the forum, what a fascinating career you have had! I hope you do manage to link in with some of your former Chessington colleagues.
     
  3. dublinlion

    dublinlion Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2 Nov 2011
    Posts:
    318
    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    Hi Terry, epic intro. You certainly lived the dream. I also hope you manage to link up with old workmates.
     
  4. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Sep 2017
    Posts:
    1,071
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Welcome!
     
  5. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Sep 2017
    Posts:
    459
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Welcome to Zoochat!