The Tasmanian press is a good source of reference for early recollections
on the thylacine, some stories being more fanciful than others:
"A curious circumstance
happened at Mr. Blinkworth's, Jerusalem, the other day. A native
tiger, as it is called boldly entered his cottage, where his family was
assembled, and seized one of the little children by the hair, but fortunately
missed its bite. Mr. Blinkworth who was confined to the house, with
a lame hand, alertly seized the animal by the tail and dashing it on the
ground speedily killed it".
Town Courier, 17th April 1830 (p. 2).
"Recently Miss Priscilla
Murray, of Springfield, had an unpleasant adventure. It appears (writes
our correspondent) that the young woman was on a selection owned by her
mother, and was sitting on a bench outside the dairy washing her hands
when something seized her by the arm. Believing it was a big kangaroo
dog which is usually on the selection, she simply jerked her arm back,
thinking to throw it off. As this did not prove effectual she looked
around, and to her horror found it was nothing less than an old and almost
toothless man tiger. Calling a little boy who was near the dairy
she asked him to let the dog loose, but the poor lad was too frightened,
and ran away. Finding that she had no one to depend upon but herself,
Miss Murray thrust one thumb into the half open mouth of the hyena, and
pressed the windpipe, and struggling to her feet she managed to throw the
animal off. On picking up a stick to strike him he sneaked off into
the scrub, half falling over the small logs in his course. From a
description of the animal given by two young men who saw it a few days
previous to Miss Murray's adventure, it is evident the hyena is a very
feeble old fellow, and almost in the last stage of starvation. Miss
Murray's sleeve was torn off, and the arm lacerated in two places, necessitating
medical attendance. On enquiry on Monday our correspondent learnt
that the wounds were not doing so well, and were causing some anxiety".
April 1902 (p. 7).
"The other day at
Gould's Country some juveniles killed a large native tiger, brought it
home, flayed it carefully, and, afterwards, stuffing the skin, placed it
upright in the middle of the public road. Just about dusk two bucks
of the locality happened to come along, each escorting a lady. At
a turn of the road they were suddenly brought face to face with what looked
in the uncertain light, a gigantic and ferocious animal. 'Run for
your lives, girls,' exclaimed one, 'while we do our best to slay this terrible
creature'. The fair ones did not require asking a second time, and
made excellent progress in the opposite direction. Then, pale, but
determined, did the gallant bucks prepare for the fray. One seized
a heavy handspike, which happened to be near, and, shutting his eyes, belted
at the enemy for fully five minutes, while his companion took him in the
rear with his umbrella - a new one - which was soon smashed to pieces,
so swashing were his blows. Suddenly operations were brought to a
conclusion by a roar of boyish laughter from a neighbouring bush, and four
shrill voices yelled "Yah! 'Ad yer that time, me eroes!". Four small,
but, vigorous forms then disappeared in the darkness of the forest, and
the fight was over".
Examiner, 14th August 1897 (p. 6).
"One day last week
Mrs. Beswick, who resides about a mile from the Brothers Home, was a short
distance from her house. Hearing a noise in the direction of the
house she proceeded thither, and to her surprise found her three children
(the oldest about ten years of age) had been at war with a native hyena.
It appears the children went into the fowl house, and there was his royal
highness. They shut the door and the battle commenced. You
may guess what a scrimmage there was. The animal made a dart for
the face of one of the children; when the boy, about five years old, pluckily
laid hold of it by the tail and held it while his sisters pegged away at
it and killed it. It certainly was a courageous act for one so young,
and considering the savage nature of the animal".
Examiner, 16th September 1878 (p. 2).
"From Nietta comes the news that the pioneer settler in that district has
lately been busy among the wild beasts of the earth. Report says
that on going to his snares one morning he found a large female native
tiger, or hyena, and alongside it a half-grown youngster of the same kind.
This made off at Mr Button's approach, and he was unable to catch it, notwithstanding
that he gave chase, and followed it some distance. However, he captured
the old one, and on going further, found another half-grown young tiger
dead in a snare, and strange to say, half-eaten. The next morning
a young tiger, probably the one chased on the previous day, was captured
in a snare and taken home alive as a prize. The young tiger lived
some days, but notwithstanding, that it was fed regularly and well, it
eventually sickened and died, possibly of a broken heart at having lost
the dearest treasure of every living thing - liberty".
West Post, 3rd May 1890 (p. 3).
"It is generally supposed that our native quadrupeds are harmless, and
will retreat at the approach of man. The following incident, which
has appeared in print before, may be of interest to your readers,
as I have it from Mr. Hall, jun., himself who wishes me to contradict the
rumour that others were engaged in it besides his father and himself.
As the road party were proceeding towards Glenmora, Mr. A. Hall and son
were in advance, and as they approached the open country, which is about
nine miles from Corinna, they perceived an animal approaching them at a
rapid rate. As it drew near they recognised by the stripes that it
was a native tiger or hyena. The old gentleman immediately armed
himself with a stout stick, when the brute made a bound at him. Receiving
a blow or two it retreated into the scrub. By this time the junior
was armed also, and only just in time, when the hyena renewed the attack
in the rear, making a determined rush at the neck of the old gentleman.
After a desperate battle the starved brute was laid low at their feet when
the rest of the party approached. It measured over 5ft 6in from nose
Examiner, 14th July 1882 (p. 3).
"ENCOUNTER WITH A
"On Thursday, the
4th instant, Mrs. Thomas Harman who resides in a lonesome place about a
mile front the Black River bridge was much disturbed in the absence of
her husband by hearing a noise among some young pigs, and on going to ascertain
the cause was immediately attacked by a hyena which followed her to the
house, somewhat checked by a little dog. Mrs. Harman procured a large
stick or bludgeon and again sallied forth. Two small dogs had then
attacked the animal; one fastened itself to the throat of the hyena and
prevented the ferocious brute from using its full power, thus enabling
Mrs. Harman to kill it after a considerable battle".
Examiner, 14th March 1868 (p. 5).