(page 4)

    Within the archives of the Linnean Society in London is the earliest surviving painting of a thylacine.  Dating from circa 1817, it was painted by the naturalist and artist John William Lewin (1770-1819), and is entitled "A new animal of the Derwent".  Mr. W. Lister Parker presented the watercolour to the Linnean Society in March 1921.
A new animal of the Derwent - John W. Lewin
John William Lewin (1770-1819). "A new animal of the Derwent".  Courtesy: Linnean Society, London.
    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".
The Hobart 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".
Examiner, 8th 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".
Launceston 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".
Launceston 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". 
North 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 to tail".
Launceston Examiner, 14th July 1882 (p. 3).


    "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".
Launceston Examiner, 14th March 1868 (p. 5).

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