Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens [1864- ]

Submitted by David on Sun, 02/01/2009 - 21:10
Current condition
In use
Date completed

The gardens' website has a brief history, including:

HKZBG [...] was founded in 1871 as a Botanic Garden and renamed in 1975 as Botanical and Zoological Gardens to reflect the increased commitments to zoological exhibits. Construction works of the Garden started in 1860 and the first stage was opened to the public in 1864.

It's still a pleasant area to stroll around. If you have young children they'll enjoy seeing the animals, and visiting the playground.

Photos that show this Place


David, what a great collection of old images of Botanical Garden.  Watching them reminds me of the field trips and family visits and the then wonderful Diary Farm ice cream we enjoy so much.  Yum!

Just for the record, the Botanical Gardens were known as the Public Gardens until 1879, as a brief China Mail item (referring to a visit by former US President Ulysses S. Grant) on page 2 of the May 6, 1879 edition mentions.


The Gardens vere laid out by Government from 1860 onwards. In 1861 they were planted and placed in charge of Mr. Thomas McDonaldson, who was given the title of Curator. Plants and seeds were first obtained from England and Australia and on completion of the work the Gardens were thrown open to the public on 06 August 1864. Some time later (late 1860’s) the Parsee community raised funds for the provision of a public bandstand


It might be recalled that beginning two years ago (early 1930s), a service reservoir was dug under the two lowest terraces and it has since been turfed over and the flower beds replaced


Charles Ford was appointed superintendent in 1871


Original fountain erected in 1868 with stone imported from England. Removed in 1932.


In 1876 a monkey house was erected, also an aviary


A bear house was reported in 1883 - housed a siberian bear that gave ‘great trouble’ owing to its fierceness


The Gardens extensions are dated by means of the early reports. For instance we learn the following : The Old Gardens extended from the road above Government House to just below the Albany as today. The New Gardens area was taken over in 1873  work continued here for a year or two a fernery being created near Glenealy in 1875. This fernery suffered, however from depredations by visitors and passers-by, and was later moved to where it is now housed, near Garden Road. An addition to the New Gardens was acquired in and laid out, just below Robinson Road, this being the upper portion where the Superintendent’s  House and offices are situated. There have been no particular additions since : but it might be noted that in 1892, the site of former water tanks which were situated in Glenealy ravine, just above the Roman Catholic Cathedral, was turned into a rockery which up to the present time has given that area such a fine sub-tropical garden appearance.


The orchid house was one of the earliest erections in the Gardens, and there is a reference in 1881 to its being repaired



Source: Old Hong Kong by Colonial Vol 1