Bronze medal awarded in 1868 by the Acclimatization Society of Victoria, featuring a menagerie of exotic animals.

In the mid 19th century in Australia and New Zealand, acclimatization societies were established to introduce exotic plants and animals. They hoped to make the alien environment feel more like home, to beautify their gardens, provide sport for hunters and 'aggrandise' the colony. But above all, they wanted to make the land economically productive.

The Acclimatization Society of Victoria was founded in 1861 by Edward Wilson, a private collector whose motto was 'if it lives, we want it'. Wilson was supported by Henry Barkly, science patron and later governor. The Acclimatization Society was primarily responsible for the introduction of starlings, sparrows and European carp in the Murray River. The Melbourne Zoo was established by the Acclimatization Society to house imported animals prior to their release. At the same time, government botanist Ferdinand von Mueller focused on the introduction of plant species from other parts of Australia and elsewhere in the world. Some - like blackberries - initially proved productive, but became noxious weeds or pests. The Acclimatization Society of Victoria folded about 1872, as the implications of its actions began to be realised.

Physical Description

An unissued bronze medal (57 mm. diameter) depicting imported animals and plants.

Obverse Description

At centre, across four stars of the Southern Cross, VICTORIA; around, ACCLIMATIZATION SOCIETY * around the centre a wreath of imported plants (including graoe vines and wheat) bound with ribbon inscribed, OMNIA TELLUS OMNES FERET

Reverse Description

Scene with trees and animals: rabbit, hare, swan, deer, pheasant, goat, alpaca and small bird in flight above; in exergue, J.S. & A.B. WYON SC. / 1868 / T. LANSEER A.B.A. ADJ.

Edge Description


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