Posted by Dorothy B. Williams on June 10, 2012 at 3:55 AM

Thylacine’s suspected ongoing existence in the Dandenongs

31st May 2012

Driving down an isolated, gravel road amongst the forest of the Dandenong Ranges, a woman finds herself following what appears to be a fox. As the animal strolls confidently down the road, she notices it seems to lack the typical features of the common introduced pest. Its tail does not resemble that of a bushy, fox-like tail. Instead, it is thin and straight with dark stripes following from its lower back to the tip. Its jaw is fuller and its stride is unusual. As the woman approaches slowly in her vehicle, the animal turns to look at her. She opens her car door to approach it on foot, but it abruptly disappears into the roadside scrub.

What Justine Merry encountered is not uncommon in the area. Many locals in the Dandenong Ranges and surrounding suburbs claim to have sighted this unusual creature, a creature that all too closely resembles that of a Thylacine.

The Thylacine, better known as the Tasmanian Tiger, was driven to extinction in the early 1900s by farmers and bounty hunters who blamed the species for the killing of sheep and other livestock.

However, the mysterious sightings of a similar looking creature are common and ongoing in Victoria, Southern and Western Australia, raising the question as to whether they are actually extinct.

Member of the Australian Rare Fauna Research Association (ARFRA), Dorothy Williams, has spent the past twenty years researching the Thylacine and its possible existence.

“You cannot prove non existence, you can only prove that nobody has seen one,” she states.

Ms Merry explains that although initially she presumed the animal to be a fox, she is familiar with the common animal and believes that the creature she saw did not have the main features of a fox.

“I am constantly on my farm witnessing foxes and different animals in our eco system. All I know is the foxes that are on my property don’t look like that,” explains Justine.

… Environmentalist and writer, Vivian Benton, spotted a thylacine crossing the road while driving early one morning with her husband, not far from where Ms Merry had her sighting.

“At first I thought it was a dog, but its tail was different and it had stripes, and it also had a pronounced heel,” Mrs Benton explained.

A believer in the possibility of the Thylacine’s ongoing existence, Mrs Benton raises the question of whether or not it would be in the species’ best interest to prove they are still walking the earth.

“What would happen if the thylacine were to be discovered? Scientists would want samples to do testing. Someone would want it killed to parade its body. Is it better to be left along as a marvel mystery?” Mrs Benton asks.

However, Ms Williams believes the rediscovery of the Thylacine could lead to more protection and preservation for the species.

She explains that so many of our native species are endangered purely due to the spread of settlement and cities.

“They talk about how many more millions of people we can fit into Australia, but I’m afraid that we fit them in at the cost of losing more of our wildlife,” she says.

Through establishing the Thylacine’s existence, it is possible that steps could be taken to assist the species in once again flourishing in Australia.

“The value we place on our unique wildlife has grown enormously. I would be glad to see its existence proved,” says Dorothy.

Christie Byrne

( is a student website that here inserts an interview with Ed.)

NB: Names and specific localities remain confidential without specific permission from the witness.


Posted by Dorothy B. Williams on June 10, 2012 at 3:55 AM


After several earlier attempts we are now setting out to pull together and interpret the store of information collected by ARFRA since its inception.

The sudden interruption to Peter Chapple’s intensive work without completion of his ongoing specific projects made producing a publication difficult, as it was Peter as Research Coordinator who gathered together the team’s individual work for interpretation.

Collecting and organising the vast database, both software and hardware, is now under way, together with Peter’s various drafts and articles for different purposes.

Members will also present chapters on their contributions. Gathering all this material together into an organised, readable and reliable publication is a rather dizzying task.

It had been begun earlier. Now it will be brought to completion. The participation of hundreds of people who have contributed to the ARFRA team over the decades deserves recognition, and this has always been our aim.

We hope that former members will return with relevant information and interpretation, especially if they have continued to concentrate on a particular aspect of the evidence, e.g. prints, predation etc., and can now add more to their earlier work in the team.

The main focus of the book will be the search for the mainland Thylacine but evidence concerning other animals will be included.

Dorothy Williams