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Zoological Gardens, Austerity, and Staging the Extinction of the 'Last' Thylacine


Schlunke, K and Stark, H, Zoological Gardens, Austerity, and Staging the Extinction of the 'Last' Thylacine, The Poetics and Politics of Gardening in Hard Times, Lexington Books, N Milthorpe (ed), London, pp. 87-101. ISBN 9781498570206 (2019) [Research Book Chapter]

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This chapter examines the Beaumaris zoo in Hobart, Tasmania, through the award-winning Australian 2014 play They Saw a Thylacine, by Justine Campbell and Sarah Hamilton. The Beaumaris zoo was the location of the death of the "last" thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) on September 7, 1936. Campbell and Hamilton's play is a fertile text for examining the impact of austerity on zoological gardens because it situates the narrative of the "last" thylacine within the economic pressures of 1930s Tasmania. As noted by Denise Varney, "[A]nthropocentric and sexist economic and social conditions are shown to come into play in a way that fatally com­pounds the precarious existence of the species" (2015, 7). This chapter examines how the play highlights the place of gender, class, race, sexual­ity, and species in the economic narratives that are central to the thyla­cine' s demise and contextualizes this with the politics of austerity, value, and exchange in zoological gardens more broadly.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:thylacine, Beaumaris zoo, extinction
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Literary studies
Research Field:Australian literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
UTAS Author:Schlunke, K (Associate Professor Katrina Schlunke)
UTAS Author:Stark, H (Associate Professor Hannah Stark)
ID Code:136694
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2020-01-14
Last Modified:2020-03-16

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