The thylacine is an easy symbol of Tasmania’s exceptional wildness and beauty. You also receive the benefit of nostalgia from its image because it’s dead. You see it in shop windows felted, painted, sculpted and printed. It is available in plastic, defecating chocolate-covered sultanas when you press its head.
It peeks coyly through long grass on the licence plates you have to stare at through your windscreen for increasing periods every morning because Hobart’s population has now exceeded its infrastructure. And if you venture north, you’ll find Launceston awash with it. The city’s logo is a thylacine of negative space surrounded by whiteness, which, as far as symbolism goes, is fairly honest, I guess. There are bronze thylacines for children to play with in the Brisbane St Mall. It’s also found on the Tasmanian coat of arms, a busy affair predating the annihilation of the species by some 20 years.
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