Tasmania’s Advocate newspaper provides incredibly detailed information for social historians and those researching family history. It has recorded daily life along the state’s north-west coast for generations. How it missed the story of the backyard lion is beyond me.
In 1893 Esther Powley of Cressy married Alfred John Baker, from nearby Deloraine. By the 1920s the couple were living on a farm at the boundary of Ulverstone and Penguin, on the old coast road.
At some point a mainland circus came to town, and a kind hearted Alfred decided to give one of the male lions a better life. How this was negotiated with the circus management is a mystery, but the Bakers ended up with a new pet.
For the couple’s daughter Mollie it was no different to having any other pet, and I must say he does look rather cuddly.
Unfortunately the postman complained. Well let’s face it, that mesh fence doesn’t look very lion proof! 😎 Eventually Mr Baker had to send Mr Lion to a zoo.
The odd thing is that although Mollie’s daughter Paula Hewitt never met her grandparents, she has an affinity with lions. She has visited Africa on multiple occasions, and has written a series of novels set in that country.
I wonder whether any residents of Penguin or Ulverstone have heard stories of the backyard lion?
For information on more of Paula’s books, CLICK HERE.