Located within a forgotten travelogue, Tasmania the Wonderland (1935), this recently digitised footage represents the preservation of the last-known surviving moving images of the now extinct thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger).
Less than a dozen source films, amounting to little more than three minutes of silent, black-and-white footage, of the elusive animal are known to survive. All derive from thylacines held in captivity and photographed in only two locations – Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart and London Zoo.
This precious 21 seconds of ‘Benjamin’ at the long-defunct Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart features the animal calmly pacing in his enclosure. Zookeeper Arthur Reid and an associate can be seen rattling his cage at the far right of frame, attempting to cajole some action or perhaps elicit one of the marsupial’s famous threat-yawns from the zoo’s most famous inhabitant.
The film’s (unknown) narrator makes mention of the animal’s rarity, and indeed, this is the only professionally produced sound film screened to audiences while a specimen was still alive in captivity.
Tasmania the Wonderland was probably filmed by the prolific Brisbane-based filmmaker and exhibitor Sidney Cook (1873–1937). The surviving nine-minute travelogue is incomplete and retains no end credits.