Early research notes for They Saw a Thylacine

10 September 2015

Sarah Saw a Thylacine

Justine Campbell and Sarah Hamilton, co-creators of They Saw a Thylacine, have a long history with the Tassie Tiger. Sarah started researching for the play before it was even conceived, when she did her Year Six research project on the thylacine. The original typewritten project has lived honourably in the rehearsal room during preparations for the show. Described as a 'smashing' project by her Year Six teacher, here are the important facts you need to know about the thylacine before the show opens in a few days.

The thylacine was a native Australian marsupial that was found exclusively in Tasmania, although some evidence suggests it was once found across the Australian mainland, Guinea and even South America.

Free from other carnivorous competitors, the thylacine preyed on roos, rodents and birds in the grasslands of Tasmania. When the british settled Tasmania in the 1800s, thylacines began preying on farmers' livestock.

Pressure from the farmers forced the government to introduce a bounty to eradicate the thylacine. Over 2,180 bounties were paid as the Tasmanian tiger was hunted to the brink of extinction.

Zoos were prepared to pay trackers and trappers more than the bounty, and the last remaining thylacines were protected in captivity in the 1930s. 

The last known thylacine died in captivity on 7 September 1936 in the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart's Domain.

It's unlikely the thylacine still lives today, although reported sightings surface nearly every year. Experts and people that saw the thylacine before it was declared extinct say we would know if they were still alive, as it had a highly distinct 'yip yip' dog-like bark that once was heard resonating in the Tasmanian bush.

They Saw a Thylacine delves into the stories of a female tracker and a zookeepers daughter, living in the final known years of the thylacine. Click here to read more about the show.