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Official send-off for Phar Lap's skeleton

January 26, 2011

A group of Maori performers gave Phar Lap's skeleton a send-off from the Melbourne Museum yesterday, as preparations begin for the horse's trip back to New Zealand.

Maori performance group Te Waka Raukura sing and dance in front of the Phar Lap Reunion display. © Image: Ben Healley/ Museum Victoria
Harmonies from the group Te Waka Raukura, which is based in Melbourne, filled the Melbourne Gallery as they sang and danced to farewell the skeleton. The skeleton of the 1930 Melbourne Cup winner went on display at the Melbourne Museum in mid-September next to Phar Lap's hide. It is part of The Phar Lap Reunion display and can be seen there until Sunday.

It was loaned to the musuem following a request from Victoria's racing minister, Rob Hulls, who had wanted to reunite the skeleton with his hide, which is held in Melbourne, and his preserved heart, which is held in Canberra.

He wanted to pull Phar Lap together to mark last year's 150th running of the great race, early in November.

While New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, agreed to loan the skeleton, Australia's national museum in Canberra turned down the heart request, saying its tissue was now too fragile to stand up to transportation.



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