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What is your safari story?

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Mr Prendergast at the Bacchus Marsh Lion Zoo, aged 16 Photo - submitted
Mr Prendergast at the Bacchus Marsh Lion Zoo, aged 16 Photo - submitted

By Jessica Howard

 An escaped water buffalo running down the Western (Ballarat) Highway and a two-year-old mauled by a lion are just some of the rumours surrounding the old Bacchus Marsh Lion Park.

The old tourist attraction thrived in the 1970s, but current information is limited.

Fortunately, a previous Bacchus Marsh resident and award winning filmmaker is set to put any uncertainties at bay.  

Darcy Prendergast is embarking on a new documentary project that will look at the rise and fall of the old drive-in safari park.

He said his father, known as Prenda, worked at the park when he was 17-years-old.

“Dad had some pretty goddamn wild stories from that time, which is what led me to investigating the possibility of creating a narrative.

“The idea of actually driving through a safari park only really existed in a small pocket of time and due to legislative changes and welfare services, the seven or eight drive-in parks that existed sort of fell by the waste side”

Prendergast said the old lion park was a fascinating part of time that needed to be preserved.

“Through some of Dad’s old networks, I’ve been able to get in contact with old patrons and employees and it is phenomenal to think of the stories that transpired in only a decade.

“The tales are predominately about mauling’s and near death or death experiences, but there are also a lot of interesting stories about the staff and how they came to be working at such a place or what they did on a daily basis”.

Prendergast said while he had already received an overwhelming amount of information, he was always looking for more.

“I want to get in contact with anyone in possession of old video footage that may have been taken whist visiting there, that is now hiding under their bed or stashed in the shed.

“The lion park is a jewel in the crown of Bacchus Marsh history and it deserves to be preserved”.

Anyone with information or footage is encouraged to contact Darcy Prendergast on darcy@ohyeahwow.com.