.
THE THYLACINE IN CAPTIVITY:
- JAMES HARRISON - TASMANIAN ANIMAL DEALER -
(page 3)
.

 
.
    A number of other thylacines acquired by Harrison were reported in the local press.  The Mercury dated 24th August 1954 (p. 4), for example, reflects on the sale of a dead thylacine to Harrison in the mid-1920s:

    "Mr. Alf Forward, of Smithton, caught a Tasmanian tiger in a kangaroo snare at Salmon River, less than 30 years ago.  The tiger was on show at Smithton, and later was sold to a Mr. Harrison, of Wynyard".

    The Circular Head Chronicle of the 11th August 1926 (p. 5), in an article entitled "Hyena Choked in Snare at Salmon River", gives further details, including an accurate date, of the capture:

    "A Tasmanian native hyena was caught in a snare at Salmon River last week.  The snares were set on Mr. Toomey's lease about two miles from the Salmon River mill, and when Messrs. Alf. Forward and Tom Harman went out to inspect them last Wednesday morning they found that a pair of hyenas had been entrapped.  The spring in one of the traps was too stiff and this caused one of them to choke to death, and the other animal, on seeing the trappers, made a desperate effort and managed to break the wire and escaped.  The dead animal was brought into Smithton from Marrawah on Friday's train and it was on view to the public in premises in Smith Street that night.  It was a lithe and graceful animal about two years old with a pretty greyish skin.  Over the backbone were parallel black stripes, which colour evenly, tapered away into the grey.  The teeth were closely locked together the top into the bottom.  There were five toes on each of the front paws and four on the back.  It was reported that there are quite a number of these animals in this region, and a live one would be very valuable.  Mr. Harman took the hyena on to Wynyard on Saturday morning".

   It is known that Harrison supplied four thylacines, but sold only three (one being returned), to Mary Grant Roberts, the owner of the Beaumaris Zoo at its Sandy Bay site in Hobart. 

    The capture of a thylacine that was destined for onward sale to Beaumaris is noted in the North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times of the 23rd October 1915 (p. 4):

    "Mr. James Harrison had on view yesterday afternoon a very nice specimen of a female Tasmanian tiger.  This was caught about 20 miles back in the bush by Mr. M. Bourke and party, and was brought in to Mr. Harrison.  The species is becoming scarce, and Mr. Harrison, who is a buyer of all Tasmanian animals, thinks that in the near future they will become extinct".

.
thylacine at James Harrison's menagerie in Wynyard, TAS
.
thylacine at James Harrison's menagerie in Wynyard, TAS
.
Entitled "Tas. Hyena", these two thylacine images were taken circa 1915 by Miss Myra Bessie Sargent at James Harrison's private menagerie in Wynyard, Tasmania.
    The photographs at left of a thylacine were taken by Miss Myra Sargent at Harrison's menagerie in Wynyard, circa 1915 (provenance: The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times, 19th October 1916, p. 4).  It is highly likely that the thylacine photographed by Miss Myra Sargent at Harrison's property in 1915 was the Bourke female noted above.

    The capture of another thylacine sold to the Beaumaris Zoo by Harrison is noted in the North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times of the 13th May 1916 (p. 2): 

    "Messrs. Foy and party caught a very nice young hyena in the region of the Top Cage, Arthur River, recently.  They brought the animal - a female, nicely marked, aged about 18 months to Mr. James Harrison, of Wynyard, who deals in Tasmanian hyenas, and he is keeping it until a favourable opportunity arises for disposing of (selling) it.  Several prospectors and bushmen report having seen or tracked other hyenas in the back country recently, and hope to snare them in the near future".

.
    The Examiner of the 6th March 1917 (p. 3), under the heading "Elliott", records the sale of a recently caught thylacine to Harrison:

    "A Tasmanian wolf was captured in a snare by a trapper last week.  He managed to get a cord round the animal's neck and took it to Wynyard, where he sold it alive for a considerable sum".

    Harrison sold this thylacine, a male, to Mrs. Roberts on the 13th June 1917 for £20.  Following Mrs. Roberts's death in 1921, this was the only thylacine remaining in her collection to be transferred to the new Beaumaris Zoo site on the Queen's Domain (Hobart).  Unfortunately, it died on the 15th October 1922, several months before the zoo was officially opened to the public on the 2nd February 1923.  Its demise was noted in the Mercury newspaper of the 16th October 1922 (p. 6):

    "Included in the animals in the Beaumaris Zoo presented by Miss Roberts to the City Council was a fine specimen of the marsupial wolf, or Tasmanian tiger, which was the pride of the collection.  This tiger had been in splendid health and condition, but, unfortunately, contracted a chill during the recent spell of cold weather, and despite every effort of the Curator (Mr Reid), who called in the assistance of a medical practitioner; it died last evening of pneumonia.  As those tigers are now almost extinct, it is very doubtful whether the loss can be made good.  The Council would be glad if any person securing a specimen would place it under offer to them.  Arrangements have been made to preserve the skin of the tiger and set up its skeleton". 

    The last thylacine purchased by Mrs. Roberts for the Beaumaris Zoo, a male, was also supplied by Harrison, on the 30th June 1917.  This thylacine was caught by brothers Almer and Ted Saward at West Montagu in northwest Tasmania in late May or early June of 1917.  Almer Saward initially attempted to sell the thylacine in the local newspaper, before it was eventually purchased by Harrison.  The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times of the 7th June 1917 (p. 4) notes:

    "FOR SALE - Full grown Hyena, alive and uninjured.  A. E. Saward, West Montagu".

    Despite the advertisement claiming that the thylacine was uninjured, it was subsequently found to be lame with an inflamed foot.  Roberts's diary entry for the 13th June 1917 (p. 4) notes: 

    "Received second male tiger this year from James Harrison.  Leg very much inflamed". 

    The tiger was returned to Harrison on the 3rd July 1917: 

    "Retuned tiger sent down.  Was injured and at Harrison's demand, was returned to Burnie".

    Harrison also supplied the Beaumaris Zoo at its new site on the Queen's Domain with thylacines.  Guiler (1986, p. 155) notes that the Hobart City Council records show that Harrison was paid £46.5/- on the 19th August 1924 for unspecified animals.  This, he states, would be the price of two thylacines, and these could have been used in exchange for the elephant from Chapman's.  If Guiler's assumption is correct, then these were the last thylacines supplied to the London Zoo.  Both of these thylacines were females.  One died in transit due to an extended period at sea, caused by industrial action at British ports that prevented ships from docking, but the surviving female went on display at the London Zoo on the 26th January 1926 until her death on the 9th August 1931.

.
.
References
.
back to: James Harrison - Tasmanian Animal Dealer (page 2) return to the section's introduction forward to: James Harrison - Tasmanian Animal Dealer (page 4)


Search the Thylacine Museum
Site Map
Website copyright © C. Campbell's NATURAL WORLDS.
Photographs and other illustrations (where indicated) are © C. Campbell's NATURAL WORLDS.
Other photos and images are © their respective owners.
.