Below is a photo of farmer Wilfred ("Wilf") Batty with the thylacine he
shot after seeing it kill poultry on his Mawbanna property around noon
on Tuesday, 6 May 1930. The thylacine (a male) was killed with one
shot to the shoulder and took around 20 minutes to die. Batty has
since acquired the notorious distinction of having made the last documented
thylacine kill. This photograph was taken by Pat O'Halloran, a postal
mechanic from Stanley. The following day, the carcass was sold to
the animal dealer James
Harrison of Wynyard for £5 who in turn, according to Batty,
sold it to the Hobart Museum where the body was prepared for taxidermy
before being sent on tour around Australia (Anon. 1980). The present
location of the taxidermy is unknown. Note the dog's fear of the
thylacine; Batty commented that his dogs were so terrified by the presence
of the corpse that they did not go near the house for three days afterwards.
Batty with the thylacine he shot on the 6 May 1930.
| The following
account in the Advocate newspaper of the 14 May 1930 (p. 6), infers that
date of the kill may have actually been the 13 May:
was caused at Mawbanna yesterday when a marsupial wolf was shot by a Mr.
Wilfred Batty on the property of his father, Mr. W. P. Batty. The
animal was an exceptionally large one of its species, its body measuring
five feet six inches in length. These animals which are more commonly
called hyenas, are now very rare in Tasmania, and are generally only found
in the out-back districts. The animals, although strong and ferocious,
are great cowards, and do most of their prowling at night, when they prey
on the small life of the bush. This particular hyena had been the
cause of a great deal of trouble in the Mawbanna district, having wrought
havoc in fowl-pens, while it had also frightened several children.
It had also visited several camps and given the men a scare. On one
occasion, a few nights ago, it entered a hut on Mr. Sundquist's property
in which some men were camping. One of the men, turning round, saw
the animal lapping up some food out of the saucepan, and, thinking it was
a dog, attempted to put it outside. He received a severe shock when
he found the intruder to be a hyena, and quickly jumped away when it snarled
at him. Another of the men threw a boot at the beast, which sank
its fangs in it, and sneaked away. The marauder evidently got a little
bold yesterday, for when Mr. Batty and his family were at dinner, his little
girl saw it through the window prowling about the yard, apparently after
fowls. Mr. Batty and his son Wilfred quickly got their guns, and
although the animal made off on their appearance, the latter was successful
in wounding it, and it was soon dispatched".
additional photos of the thylacine killed by Wilf Batty. The first
image, which depicts the final, sad moments just before its death, was
taken by Pat O'Halloran. The photographer of the second image (in
which the animal appears to be dead) is unknown. Both photographs
were of course taken prior to O'Halloran's image which shows Mr. Batty
posing beside the stiffened body.
In the "Letters to
the Editor" section of the Mercury newspaper of the 4 January 1937
is an impassioned plea by D. Colbron Pearse, the President of the Field
Naturalists Club of Tasmania, to save the "tiger":
in Australia's unique fauna will be pleased to read in 'The Mercury' of
January 2, that at last a real effort is being made to save the koala from
extinction. The apathy, towards this important subject of fauna preservation
has always been very marked, and more so in Tasmania than on the Mainland.
Here we have a far more interesting and valuable animal than the koala,
one that is becoming rarer each year, and yet no steps are taken to preserve
it. I refer to the marsupial wolf, or tiger. Many hundreds
of koala are still to be found in their wild state, but from all accounts,
it's doubtful if today there exist one hundred tigers.
scientists, including Dr. J. Pearson of our Museum, have frequently pointed
out the necessity for its preservation. About two years ago Mr. A.
W. Burbury speaking at a meeting of the Fauna Board said that the animal
was of tremendous scientific value and moved that the Government be approached
with a view to establishing a sanctuary, but the motion lapsed for want
of a seconder. So far no steps have been taken to protect the tiger
beyond placing it on the partially protected list, as far as I know.
The first step should be fully to protect it, and heavily fine or imprison
anyone capturing or shooting it, besides which it should be an offence
to possess a skin. Occasionally a specimen is sent to our zoo where
it invariably dies within a few weeks; another victim to indifference and
Are we going to sit
down quietly and allow this unique animal to die out within a short period?
Something must be done and done quickly if we wish to avoid the slur which
is bound to fall upon its extinction. If every interested person,
and everyone should be interested, voiced his and her opinion, we might
get a move on in the right direction and win the approbation of the world
for our efforts in saving the Thylacine".