Never before seen footage of the last thylacine unearthed

 

THE LATE Reverend Harold Doyle's nitrate film depicting the last known thylacine "Benjamin" was archived in the 1980s, but his son and a team of researchers have brought the footage to light.

Michael Williams from New South Wales is in Tasmania to search for the Tasmanian Tiger and is pictured at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery where he is gathering information before heading bush.
Michael Williams from New South Wales is in Tasmania to search for the Tasmanian Tiger and is pictured at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery where he is gathering information before heading bush.

John Doyle, 78, said a video recorded on Reverend Doyle's Pathe Baby hand cranked camera, which Mr Doyle now keeps, captured seven seconds of Benjamin at the Beaumaris Zoo enclosure in 1930.

Tasmanian tiger researchers Branden Holmes, Gareth Linnard and Mike Williams were thrilled to observe the footage of the internationally recognised Benjamin as a young cub.

A still frame from newly discovered footage of the thylacine at Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart filmed by Reverend Harold Doyle, believed to captured in 1930. The sign depicted describes the thylacine as a Tasmanian wolf. Source: SUPPLIED.
A still frame from newly discovered footage of the thylacine at Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart filmed by Reverend Harold Doyle, believed to captured in 1930. The sign depicted describes the thylacine as a Tasmanian wolf. Source: SUPPLIED.

"It has a tail crest which is indicative of a juvenile animal," Mr Holmes said.

"The new footage suggests it was in captivity for twice as long as previously believed."

Prior understanding indicated the tiger was held at Beaumaris from 1933 until its death in 1936, but the video suggests the tiger entered captivity three years earlier despite reports from 1957 claiming Benjamin was captured in 1933 in the Florentine Valley, southwest Tasmania.

Watch the newly discovered archive footage of the thylacine at Beaumaris Zoo. Source: SUPPLIED.
Watch the newly discovered archive footage of the thylacine at Beaumaris Zoo. Source: SUPPLIED.

But the information is at odds with the only three other reported thylacine captures during the 1930s, all occurring in the North-West.

Mr Holmes regretted to say he doubted whether any thylacines remained in the state today, but held slim hopes they existed on the Australian mainland or New Guinea.

Mr Doyle said he was "chuffed" his father's footage had assisted researchers to better understand the thylacine.

annie.mcann@news.com.au

Originally published as Never before seen footage of the last thylacine unearthed



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