"A boy about 11 years of age, a son of Mr. Wm. Cross, Mount Hicks, had
a most unpleasant encounter with a native tiger a few days ago. Being
sent on some errand in his father's paddock, near the residence, he was
seized by one of the denizens of the scrub, and, despite his efforts at
resistance, was dragged a considerable distance by the savage beast.
His cries attracted his mother's attention, and she ran at once to his
assistance, when the hyena made off. The boy, who is rather small
for his age, escaped with a number of scratches and a severe fright from
what threatened to be a terrible death. The tiger escaped into the
bush, and the residents in the vicinity are greatly concerned at the presence
of such an undesirable visitor".
Examiner, 6th April 1899 (p. 7).
| "It was emerging
onto a small plain which is situated about a mile north from the cast end
of the Black Bluff Mountain, when I saw the bushes in motion a short distance
in front of me. I thought the movement was caused by
a number of the wombat tribe, the flesh of which is considered to
be good eating by travellers in the bush, to whom meat is a luxury, and
I sent forward my young - though nearly full grown dog - a setter spaniel
thinking that he might chase the supposed wombat into an hollow tree, where
it could be easily captured. But just at the moment two tigers emerged
into the open space, and one of them made off, while the other turned fiercely
upon the dog, which running back regarded me with an expression which seemed
to ask as clearly as instinct could, whether he was to attack in earnest.
Again I sent him forward, and this time he advanced with such a display
of determination, that the tiger, after a faint show of resistance, began
to retreat, when the dog, seizing it by the tail, suffered himself to be
led along at a quickish pace, while I followed with the view of overtaking
them, till I stumbled and fell, and narrowly escaped being cut by a tomahawk
which I held in my hand. Here the dog rushed back as if to see what
was the matter; but I again sent him forward, sad the tiger, now finding
escape impossible, turned upon its assailant, and both fought with the
utmost ferocity for about two minutes, when the dog seizing the tiger by
the throat and keeping his hold overpowered it in a few seconds, and I
then knocked it on the head, thinking I was doing right in destroying one
of a kind of animal which is often very destructive to sheep and lambs.
The tiger was sixteen inches high and two feet six inches long from the
nose to the tail which, was fourteen inches in length. A short time
after the incident above mentioned I was on the north side of the River
Leon, and seeing my dog suddenly bound off I looked in the direction he
had taken, and saw him approaching the largest tiger I had ever seen, and
which seemed disposed to treat him with the utmost defiance, rushing
at and driving him off whenever he approached within a few feet, and then
steadily resuming its course. Thinking, from the size of the tiger,
that it might prove dangerous even to a man, should it meet one when without
a weapon wherewith to defend himself; and thinking that if it effectually
intimidated the dog it might return in the night with its mate for they
often go in pairs and cause me some annoyance, I resolved upon attempting
its destruction, and I ran forward for this purpose, tomahawk in hand;
but the moment it saw me advancing it reversed its course, and made for
a scrub at the margin of the river; but the dog being encouraged by my
voice and presence rushed at and fastened upon it repeatedly, but was as
often repulsed with a sharp bite; he, however, so retarded its progress
that I was enabled to overtake it when, thinking to despatch it at a single
blow, I struck it on the head with my tomahawk and fractured its skull;
but, notwithstanding this, it reeling and staggering, fought the dog for
fully two minutes, inflicting bite after bite in fully two minutes, inflicting
bite after bite in his neck in rapid succession; and placing its fore feet
against the upper part of his breast pushed him off by main strength whenever
he fastened upon its throat. While this was going on I could not
strike a second blow for fear of wounding the dog, at such a rate did they
roll about; at length, however, seeing that the tiger was becoming weak,
I seized it by the hind legs, and, placing my foot on the dog to keep him
steady, I struck it again with my tomahawk severing the spine of its neck
and causing its instant death. The height of this tiger to the lowest
part of the top of the back was twenty one inches; the length of the head
and body, three feet four inches; of the tail, seventeen inches.
It was a female and had in its false belly four young ones, each adhering
firmly to a teat and well covered with hair, and just able to walk.
I would have kept these young tigers as specimens of animated nature if
I had not found that they would not live on the rough food which alone
I had to give them. From what I know of the Tasmanian tiger, I believe
that whenever it finds itself menaced by superior force it retreats for
its den, and if it succeeds in this it faces about, and being secure from
attack except in front, it defends itself with the utmost ferocity, inflicting
severe wounds on any assailant that ventures to close
with it. I have only heard of one contest between a sheep dog and
a large tiger, and in that the former prevailed, though not without being
fearfully lacerated by the teeth of the tiger. With a kangaroo dog
|I do not think
that any tiger would be able to contend long owing chiefly to the superior
mode of fighting of the former. I have never known a tiger to attack
a man - although I once knew one to walk up to two in the bush, but in
this case the intruder was knocked on the head before he had a shown any
aggressive intentions. I have also known a tiger to follow a man
for a considerable distance at night, though not attempting to molest him"
- J. S. Forth.
Launceston Examiner, 22nd
November 1862 (p. 2).
"A few nights ago,
a hyena tiger, an animal so rarely seen in this Colony, but of the largest
size, was found in the sheep-fold of G. W. Gunning, Esq. J. P. Coal River.
Four kangaroo dogs, which were thrown in upon him, refused to fight, and
he had seized a lamb, when a small terrier of the Scotch breed was put
in and instantly seized the animal, and, after a severe fight, to the astonishment
of every one present, the terrier succeeded in killing his adversary".
Hobart Town Gazette &
Van Diemen's Land Advertiser, 2nd August 1823 (p. 2).
Map of "Van Diemen's
Island" (Tasmania) drawn by John Rapkin.
Printed by John Tallis &
Company of London & New York (1851).
Place your pointer over
the map to magnify. Note illustration of a thylacine (curiously,
depicted without stripes) in the lower right corner, and of Hobart Town
at top centre.
One of the earliest
accounts of the sighting of thylacines in the wild was printed in the Sydney
Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser on the 30th November 1811 (p. 2);
"Two animals of the
hyena kind were seen at Campbell island by hunting parties belonging to
and Sally; from the description given of which they appear to have
been of the same species with an animal killed at Port Phillip in 1803".
In the Colonial Times
of the 7th December 1844 (p. 2), in an article on the amusements available
at the annual Hobart Regatta, a children's penny thylacine attraction is
"For the youngsters
there was amusement in plenty. There was a savage hyena, who 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, a very amusing creature".