Halls Gap Zoo started out as Wallaroo Wildlife Park and opened to the public on Boxing Day 1982. Colin and Liz Konig with their young family, Nicole and Paul, enjoyed visiting the many Wildlife Parks and Zoos around the country, appreciating the joy that animals brought into their lives.
They lived in Melbourne operating a small plumbing business, working 5- 6 days a week in suburbia with two dogs, gold fish and lots of birds. On one weekend whilst visiting family in the Wimmera, they noticed a block of land for sale 5 km from Halls Gap advertised in the paper, with a description that mentioned some of the requirements they had been looking for.
Going for a drive to check it out they could see the potential and decided to check on the planning requirements – all was good and by the end of the week they negotiated a sale subject to the appropriate permits being granted.
Full time development work on the Wildlife Park and residence started 30th March 1982 with major earthworks carried out on roadways, car park, tracks through the park, four bridges and a creek diversion, around 4 km of water mains and associated pipe work laid to service the aviaries, animal compounds, public facilities and irrigation needs.
Then came the fencing of the park and compounds, miles of it! A small kiosk, toilet block, BBQ pavilion and a basic playground were built. With the park taking shape the animal shelters were constructed in preparation for the animals.
While all this was taking place, arrangements for the wildlife from other parks and zoos and appropriate training in the care of the animals took place.
By 1989 the park had on display over 80 species of animals and birds. In 1990 we were awarded the Certificate of Merit for significant local attractions of Victoria in the State Tourism Awards.
Sadly, after many happy years operating Wallaroo Wildlife Park it closed June 1996 due to the owner’s ill health and high interest rates.