A popular private zoo at Fairy Meadow may have ceased operation two decades ago, but it elicits fond memories for Silvia Bensi.
Mrs Bensi and her brother Fred recently inherited the parcel of land on Dawson Street from their parents Ferrante (Fred) and Maria Ghirardello.
Mrs Ghirardello died last year; her husband in 1997.
Mrs Bensi said the nearly 15,000sqm property has been in the family for almost 60 years.
The house was initially located on Richardson Street, Wollongong.
The Ghirardellos bought the land on Dawson Street and had the house moved there in 1960 about the time Mrs Bensi was starting high school.
The site became known as ‘Kangaroo Corner’ due to the private zoo that Mrs Bensi’s parents hosted there.
“Dad used to go shooting, and then he went out west and came across these kangaroos,” Mrs Bensi said.
“He found a joey, he’d shot its Mum. He brought it home, and then he thought, ‘I don’t want to shoot animals any more’.
“So they raised it there and then other people brought some other kangaroos to him. So he applied to council for a private zoo, and ended up with several kangaroos.”
The zoo was in operation for more than 20 years, wrapping up shortly after Mr Ghirardello’s death.
“There were kangaroos and emus there as well as peacocks, ducks, guinea fowls and even a rabbit,” Mrs Bensi said.
“They loved looking after the animals.”
Mrs Bensi said it was a “lovely place to grow up”, and the zoo was popular with locals and visitors alike.
“People used to come there all the time; often in minibuses from places like Heathcote because it was one of the only places they could look at kangaroos and emus up close.
“All the kids from the local area used to go down there and feed the kangaroos apples and all sorts of things.”
Mrs Ghirardello left the Dawson Street property the year after her husband died.
The property is still home to a few horses, and there are currently tenants renting out the house.
Mrs Bensi, who now lives at Mount Pleasant said the siblings likely planned to sell the property in the future.