Account of 1888 tiger mauling at Australian zoo
On this day – 1888
“AT noon yesterday, persons passing along George St, in the vicinity of Higgins’ menagerie, were startled by seeing an enormous Bengal tiger chasing a man through the menagerie gate, in Turbot St, where he knocked him down and seized him with his teeth. The passers-by hurriedly left the vicinity.”
So began The Moreton Bay Courier’s account on November 22, 1888, of one of the strangest days Brisbane has ever witnessed.
The menagerie’s owner, Charles Higgins, raced out with his whip and began lashing the enraged tiger, which let go of its victim, a German man by the name of Peter, before latching on to him again.
Mr Higgins bravely put his arm in the mouth of the tiger, called Jimmy, to make it let go. He then managed to drive the big cat back inside the gates while a badly lacerated Peter, whose brain was exposed by scratch wounds, was bundled off to hospital in a cab.
By that stage, a huge crowd had plucked up enough courage to creep back to the scene.
Peter had been employed as a general hand at the menagerie and opened the cage door despite being warned not to do so. Apparently, he had often teased Jimmy, who instantly sprang from his cage and gave chase.
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