The long hours required to upkeep the zoo and look after its inhabitants and the seasonally fluctuating financials - boom in summer, bust in winter - saw the Wards close down the zoo in It is now the site of Paradise Palms, Carey Bay.
Also known as Cain's Holiday Park and Zoo it covered an area of 6 acres. The zoo was created by John Cain over the course of a few years and was initially open to the public in December , though construction was still ongoing. Most of the work was done by Mr. Cain and his wife, who built much of the zoo using bush timber and made accommodation cabins out of former Catalina flying boats, army disposal igloo huts and converted buses.
The original plans for the zoo included a miniature train track, a swan pond and a museum in the form of a New Guinea hut housing artefacts from South Pacific.
Floodlights were installed to allow for evening animal presentations. The zoo housed grizzly bears, lions and monkeys in addition to local fauna. In a number of animals at the zoo died, suspected of being poisoned. In , Mr.
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Cain made an application to move the zoo to Highfields. It was turned down due to concerns about parking, as it was proposed to be on the Pacific Highway, and the potential for loud noise and the smell from the animals. The exact location of the zoo in the Charlestown area is debated, but a likely location was in a gully near Madison Drive and the Apollo International Hotel.
Ray Richardson, born and raised on Charlestown Road, Charlestown, recalls regularly playing around the bush surrounding The New Calendonian Colliery in raspberry gully. Ray recalls the old zoo bordered on the eastern side of the colliery and was accessed by a dirt road that came off the Pacific highway close to where the Apollo international hotel now stands. Ray and a mate unofficially accessed the zoo through bush tracks off the old gully railway line just before it entered the colliery grounds.
Ray and his mate would sneak into the zoo and feed the monkeys with fruit scraps. The zoo was short lived in Charlestown, and Mr. Cain gave up the zoo business for the motor industry. Over the years, there were a number of calls to establish a zoo at Wangi Point, but it never eventuated.
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Pulbah also known as Bulba Island was set up as an Australian zoo after suggestions from the Australasian Society of Patriots. It was to be a natural zoo, with no enclosures allowing the birds and animals to live in their native environment. Animals and birds were transported to the site, including emus, kangaroos, koalas, wallabies and wombats. There were problems with food and water, as it had to be transported to the island.
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