Friday, June 17, 2011


The two articles below relate to the today very rare Tiger Cat or Tiger Quoll or Spotted Tailed Quoll as we like to call them here in Canberra. The first written after the second relates to a time before Federation when the marsupial was apparently abundant and the collective attitude of the day towards the carnivore sought its eradication.

That 19th century attitude, still practised in the 1950's, seemed not only to persist to a by then rare species but also extended to another marsupial in the local area, the Rock Wallaby. Today of course the Southern Brush-tailed Wallaby is officially declared as locally extinct in the Australian Capital Territory.

The wonderful habitat of Tidbinbilla is today however again being used for a breeding program to help save another population in the Grampians of Victoria and the ACT government announced in February the birth in the wild of a Joey from a mother bred at Tidbinbilla.

The second article written in 1936 tells the tale of a trapped Quoll by then so rare that it caused interest and the dead specimen deemed worthy of presentation to the Institute of Anatomy. 

I think what struck me most about both articles was the colonial attitude to fauna carried over from a colonial past. It's an attitude reminiscent, and crucial to, the eventual extinction of the Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine in Tasmania in 1936.

The end of the story is sadly we succeeded in exterminating the Rock Wallaby population from our mountains and we had nearly succeeded in killing off the Quoll. It still could happen...

The Sydney Morning Herald - Thursday 25 November 1954

National Library of Australia

The Canberra Times - Friday 17 July 1936

National Library of Australia

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  1. Used to be quolls in this area of New England apparently.

  2. If we're not careful it will be that way here too Keith.


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