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From: Adele
To: Jan
Subject: Lion – gifted to Baker’s Museum

Hi Jan
 
I have been researching my husband's family and in particular, currently, that of his paternal great-grandfather, Horace ROLLAND, who was born in the USA c.1862 and with his parents, brother and sister were circus performers.  He and his parents and brother come to New Zealand in 1884 with Chiarini's Royal Italian Circus and Menagerie and performed in many venues across the country.  Recently, I have been searching the Papers Past website and have found some interesting snippets relating to Chiarini's Circus.  One in particular, which appeared in the Evening Post on 24 October 1884, states:
 
"...  This Day:  One of the five performing lions in Chiarini's circus died last night from inflammation of the lungs.  The five had been bought by Chiarini's circus from Cooper's circus for £1,500. Cooper had bought them at auction at the sale of Myer's menagerie for 1,100 guineas.  Chiarini refused to sell the carcase, but presented it to Baker's Museum, Waipawa, as a memento of his visit to Napier.  The circus has been a great success during its stay here.  It leaves to-day for Lyttelton. ..."
 
My query is:  Did the Settler's Museum inherit a stray (presumably taxidermied) lion from "Baker's Museum".  
 
Just an interesting sideline to my family research that I thought you might find of interest too.
 
Look forward to your response.
Adele 


From: Murray
To: Adele
Subject: Lion – gifted to Baker’s Museum

Hi Adele
I worked as Secretary for the Museum for about 5 years and I can confirm that there is no lion at the Museum present day. The CHB Settlers' Museum is quite recent in terms of history so it would be highly unlikely that some if any of the baker's Museum ended up at todays museum.
 
Regards
 
Murray Gosling


From: Adele
To: Murray
Subject: Lion – gifted to Baker’s Museum

Hi Murray
 
Was worth a shot - would have made an interesting connection, I think, but sadly no.
 
Cheers
Adele


From: Jan
To: Adele
Subject: Lion – gifted to Baker’s Museum

Hi Adele,
I only got back from Auckland late last night and saw that Murray had already answered your enquiry about the lion. I would have made a great story wouldn't it? Pity we don't know where the lion is. I've never even heard anyone talk about it.
I've heard the story about when the circus came to town and had the race against a traction engine through the Waipawa River and then had to pull the traction engine out when they got stuck in the shingle. But not the lion story.
Its really interesting the stories that come to light. Thanks for sharing it.
 
:-) Jan


From: Adele
To: Jan
Subject: More on Lion Carcass given to Baker’s Museum

Hi Jan
 
I found another newspaper article a few weeks ago (see below) that will add to the mystery of the Lion carcass from Chiarini's Circus in 1884.  This further explains that it was the skeleton rather than the lion itself that was gifted to Baker's Museum.  Wouldn't it be great to find the bones somewhere.  Sadly probably not ...  I wonder what Mr Baker did with them?
 
I thought you might be interested in the follow-up ...
 
Best wishes
Adele Williams

24 Oct 1884 – Hawkes Bay Herald – “Fri. 24 Oct 1884”


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