Posted on 17. Jun, 2010 in News

New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa, has agreed to loan Phar Lap’s skeleton to the Melbourne Museum to celebrate the 150th Melbourne Cup, Deputy Premier and Racing Minister Rob Hulls announced today.

“This is a major coup for Melbourne as New Zealand has never before agreed to lend Big Red’s skeleton to an international museum and it will be the first time it has travelled overseas since it arrived in New Zealand in 1933,” Mr Hulls said.

“An assessment of the state of the skeleton was undertaken by Te Papa conservators who determined that, with some minor stabilisation and repair work, the skeleton with its steel framework is in a state to be loaned without risking its integrity.”

Mr Hulls said the skeleton would be displayed alongside Phar Lap’s hide in an exhibition at the Melbourne Museum to open in September and run until 30 January next year.

He said the Melbourne Museum estimated at least 350,000 people would visit during the exhibition period – about 45 per cent of the Museum’s annual visitation and an expected increase of 40,000 visitors over last year.

“The exhibition will coincide with two peak visitation periods – the spring and summer school holidays – making it a great excursion for families and a tourist draw card for Victoria,” Mr Hulls said.

Melbourne Museum manager Brett Dunlop said he was thrilled by the prospect of the world-first exhibition.

“The reunion of Phar Lap’s hide and skeleton to commemorate the 150th running of the Melbourne Cup will be a fantastic celebration of his important place in Victoria’s racing history,” Mr Dunlop said. “I’m sure this will make Melbourne Museum’s most popular exhibit an even greater attraction.”

Mr Hulls renewed his call for the National Museum of Australia, which has Phar Lap’s heart, to come to the party to reunite Phar Lap with his hide and skeleton to commemorate the 150th running of the Melbourne Cup, as well as the 80th anniversary of the racing legend’s 1930 Melbourne Cup win.

“Come on Canberra, show some heart for this fantastic event!” Mr Hulls said.

New Zealand’s Minister for Racing John Carter said this was another great trans-Tasman racing moment.

“The Melbourne Cup is a race that stops both our nations and one of its greatest winners ever, Phar Lap, is significant to the racing history of both New Zealand and Australia,” Mr Carter said.

“This collaboration between our museums, instigated by the Victorian Racing Minister, creates a great opportunity for fans of great sporting moments to see what a giant Phar Lap was.”

Comments are closed.