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THE THYLACINE IN CAPTIVITY:
- ZOOS, CIRCUSES AND MENAGERIES -
TASMANIA (page 7)
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Beaumaris Zoo [Hobart] - Sandy Bay [1895-1921], Queen's Domain [1922-1937] (continued):

    Poignantly, the Beaumaris Zoo (QD) is where the last known captive thylacine (shown in the photo below) died on the evening of the 7th September 1936.  The story behind this thylacine, commonly referred to by the name "Benjamin", is discussed under a separate section.

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Benjamin - Beaumaris Zoo (QD) - 1933
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Benjamin.  Beaumaris Zoo (QD), 19th December 1933.  Photo courtesy: David Fleay Trustees.
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Interactive map of the Beaumaris Zoo (QD) as it appeared circa 1930.  Place your pointer over the various structures for identification.  The two areas of the zoo in which thylacines were displayed are highlighted in yellow.  Map based on a schematic developed through all available historical and archaeological information, by the Beaumaris Zoo Site Conservation Plan.  View an aerial photograph of the present-day zoo site.
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position of thylacine enclosure - Beaumaris Zoo (QD)
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Photograph from Alison Reid's personal collection showing the position of the thylacine enclosure in relation to the kangaroo and deer paddocks at the Beaumaris Zoo (QD).  Courtesy: Moeller Archives.
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    Five months after Benjamin's demise, Michael Sharland, in an article entitled "TASMANIAN TIGER: Marsupial's Stand", published in the Sydney Morning Herald of the 2nd Feb 1937 (p. 13) writes of the increasing difficulty in obtaining thylacines for zoos:

    "The Tasmanian tiger, as this marsupial wolf is generally called, is now so rare that in spite of rewards offered for its capture, some zoological gardens have for years been unable to procure a specimen for exhibition.  It is not yet extinct, but in the last 10 years its numbers have been reduced to such an extent, both by shooting and natural causes, as to suggest that 10 years hence the last living tiger will have disappeared.  That is, if some action is not taken to re-establish its kind; and it is for this reason that the zoos desire to have specimens, for their object is to try to perpetuate the species by breeding it in captivity".

thylacine - Beaumaris Zoo (QD) - circa 1928
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Male thylacine photographed by Basset Hull at the Beaumaris Zoo (QD), circa 1928.

    The Beaumaris Zoo finally closed its doors to the public on 31st October 1937.  All that remains of the zoo today is the derelict site shown in the photograph below.  Only a few concrete structures survive, the most prominent of which is the Polar bear enclosure.

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former site of Beaumaris Zoo - image  Nicholas Ayliffe
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The old concrete Polar bear enclosure is seen in the foreground (2004).
The arrow marks the location of one of the thylacine enclosures.
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    A modern commemorative gate was installed in 2000, together with a notice detailing the zoo's years of operation and testifying to the fact that this was the place where the last known captive thylacine died.
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commemorative gate at Beaumaris Zoo - image  Nicholas Ayliffe
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Commemorative gate at the Beaumaris Zoo (Queen's Domain), 2000.  View detail.
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References
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back to: Tasmania (page 6) return to the subsection's introduction forward to: Tasmania (page 8)


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