Lure of the Thylacine: True Stories and Legendary Tales of the Tasmanian Tiger

Lure of the Thylacine: True Stories and Legendary Tales of the Tasmanian Tiger

by Col Bailey

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Lure of the Thylacine: True Stories and Legendary Tales of the Tasmanian Tiger by Col Bailey

Covering a century and a half during which the thylacine’s status has changed from being a despised sheep killer to a magnificent survivor, these enthralling stories are for both the curious and the enthusiast. Speculation by an ever-growing band of Tasmanian tiger devotees that the thylacine still exists has not wavered, despite the dogmatic stance by the scientific fraternity that the animal is extinct. This collection of actual accounts and anecdotal yarns originated from discussions the author had with an old Tasmanian tiger trapper, Reg Trigg, who in the early days of the twentieth century established a mutual friendship with Lucy, a tiger he rescued from a trap.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781760400910
Publisher: Bonnier Publishing Australia
Publication date: 05/01/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 728,542
File size: 18 MB
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About the Author

Col Bailey is a retired landscape gardener who enjoys bushwalking. He is a canoeist and a marathon race walker who once held the Australian 50-mile walk race record. Col is also the author of Tiger Tales and Shadow of the Thylacine. He lives in Tasmania.

Read an Excerpt

Like so many other young men of his generation returning from the Great War, Reg Trigg was unsettled and disillusioned. Back in his beloved Victorian high country, he struggled to settle back into a lifestyle he’d once cherished. He felt most at ease working with horses, his affinity with them now much stronger than his affinity with his fellow man.

Upon leaving the Middle East at the end of the conflict, Reg had been forced to put down his beloved Waler, and bitter memories of the horse continued to haunt him. As the Great Depression began to take hold in 1929, Reg, still single and without work, decided to try his luck further south. It was while drinking in a hotel in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton that he was led to believe there was employment to be had working with beef cattle down in Tasmania. Hurriedly packing a few belongings, he was soon crossing Bass Strait on his way to Launceston. On his arrival late in 1929, Reg discovered to his dismay that the situation was, if anything, worse than in Victoria, for there was no regular work of any description to be found.

Stranded and unable to raise his return fare, Reg tramped the country roads looking for work — any sort of work — before befriending an elderly farmer, Frank Scott. Frank gave him several months’ work on his farm, and then set him up with a trap run in the Western Tiers. Reg had a good knowledge of trapping, having trapped extensively in the Victorian highlands with his father before the war. Heading for the high country of northern Tasmania, he soon located the run near what is now the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.

Established in Frank’s rough bark humpy, Reg’s necessities of life were few and he soon become largely self-sufficient. It was while out checking his trap lines early one cold winter morning that he came upon a young female Tasmanian tiger securely trussed up in a snare. Although unable to free herself, she was not seriously injured and he managed to secure the traumatised animal’s head in a hemp sack. Binding her legs and slipping her over his shoulders, Reg was able to safely transport her back to his camp, where he confined her in a hurriedly constructed timber pen.

He named the young tiger Lucy and commenced pampering her with every kindness, to which the wary animal gradually responded. A mutual bond of trust and affection slowly began, and with it evolved one of the more memorable stories of the Australian bush. Feeding the young tiger presented no difficulty because of the ready supply coming from his trap line. Eventually Reg was able to feed Lucy by hand, and she responded by allowing him to gently stroke her head, an experience she appeared to appreciate.

As winter began to take hold, Lucy became increasingly restless. Although the affection between them remained strong, Reg became concerned at her unsettled mood while he was absent from the camp. Eventually, out of genuine concern for his darling Lucy, he released her back into the wild. Parting with her saddened Reg greatly, and afterwards he kept a lookout for the young tiger, but she appeared to have vanished.

One morning Reg’s despondency turned to joy. A mother tiger with two cubs sat patiently waiting for him along one of his well-worn trails. Instantly he recognised Lucy. Reg stopped short of the trio, and for some minutes man and beast faced each other, totally entranced. At length Lucy turned and, together with her two cubs, walked slowly off into the bush.

Although he continued to trap the same area for many years, it was to be the last time Reg would lay eyes upon Lucy or, for that matter, any others of her kind. The ominous clouds of potential extinction were already gathering.

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