How to Move a Zoo

Kate Simpson, Owen Swan (illus.)

How to Move a Zoo
Allen & Unwin
4 June 2024

How to Move a Zoo

Kate Simpson, Owen Swan (illus.)

It was still dark when Mr Miller opened the gates of the old zoo, but he wasn't scared because he wasn't alone. He was with Jessie the elephant and together they were going to walk from Moore Park, through the city streets, to the ferry at Fort Macquarie. Jessie was moving to her spacious new home in the soon-to-be-opened Taronga Zoological Park.

Jessie's surprising journey was unlike any other and it brought a little warmth to the city on that brisk September morning in 1916.

The incredible true story of Jessie the elephant from the bestselling author of Anzac Girl: The War Diaries of Alice Ross-King and the highly acclaimed illustrator of Anzac Biscuits.


Whoever would have thought an elephant would walk through the Sydney streets onto a ferry and sail on it across the waters of Port Jackson to the new Taronga Zoo? In 1916, it happened! Jessie, the last inmate of the old Zoological Gardens, was taken across the land then across water to her new home (a marvellous old map shows the route they took). Atmospheric, gentle hues portray a beautiful, calm animal with complete trust in her empathetic handler. The images and shadows of awakening day and then the joy of a safe arrival are just gorgeous. The author and illustrator have created a book which will, I hope, live on to be an Australian picture book classic. For ages 3+.

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