|Thylacines as penny
attractions in country fairs:
In an article entitled
Regatta", referring to the Royal
Hobart Regatta, published in the Colonial Times of the 7th December
1844 (p. 3), a captive thylacine is one of the many attractions on show
for the amusement of the attending children:
had a tent erected, in which a large native
tiger was shown and attracted a considerable number of spectators".
The Cornwall Chronicle of the 2nd October 1874 (p. 2) notes two tigers
on display at the Tasmanian Agricultural & Pastoral Association's show:
marquee was devoted to the accommodation of a couple of lively looking
Tasmanian tigers. It is hardly necessary to say that these animals
were, 'for exhibition only' at the low charge of one shilling per head".
"For the youngsters there was amusement in plenty. There was a savage hyaena,
whot eats off its own nose when it's hungry, for the small price of 1d.
The same hyena, be it known, being a native tiger, but nevertheless a very
savage, and therefore, amusing creature".
The Launceston based
newspaper "The Cornwall Chronicle", of the 16th October 1869 (p.
7), notes a tiger on display at the Morven Agricultural Society's spring
show: "On the ground, on Wednesday some men
An advertisement from
the Devon Herald newspaper of the 23rd July, 1886 (p.3).
Walter Jack Mullins,
a snarer and trapper, exhibited a family group of tigers at various country
fairs around the state prior to selling them to the Beaumaris Zoo (QD).
The Mercury newspaper of the 10th December 1923 (p. 6) notes:
"A Tasmanian native
tiger and three young ones captured at Tyenna were exhibited at sports
in Fitzgerald on Saturday".
Thylacines in private
One of the few well
documented cases of thylacines being kept in private zoos are those in
the care of Sir John Eardley Wilmot, the Governor of Tasmania, who exhibited
at least three thylacines in the gardens of his official residence in Hobart
between 1843 and 1846.
Portrait of Sir Eardley
Source: State Library of
Louisa Anne Meredith
Source: Allport Library.
Louisa Anne Meredith
(1852) wrote in her book "My Home in Tasmania" a detailed account
of "Native Tigers". She states with reference to a thylacine
she donated to Sir Eardley Wilmot's collection:
"I obtained a place
for this tiger in Sir Eardley Wilmot's collection; but its untameable ferocity
and savageness resisted all endeavours to civilise and tame it, and in
consequence, the carefully stuffed skin was eventually preserved, instead
of the living form of my ungentle protégé".
The Cornwall Chronicle
of the 14th December 1870 (p. 2) gives an early account of a small private
menagerie with a captive tiger in its collection:
"A very wonderful
collection of animals is now on view in the Quadrant, next to Mr. Dowling's
photographic establishment. The Menagerie has changed hands, and
the present proprietor feeds his queer friends so liberally, as to put
them in much better condition than they were when they arrived in Launceston.
The zebra striped tiger-wolf, the king of the menagerie is in good form
and hisses and growls ominously when stirred up and requested to walk round
and show his muscle. The dog-faced, lop-eared kangaroo is the curiosity
next in rarity to the tiger wolf; then there are two black ring-tailed
opossums, a beautiful ring tailed opossum mouse, with four young ring-tails
in a cage, and a venerable looking monkey from Sumatra. The collection,
though not extensive, is a very rare one and is well worth a visit".