Farewell Col Bailey, thylacine true believer

THE life of renowned Tasmanian tiger researcher, hunter and true believer Colin Bailey will be celebrated at his funeral service in New Norfolk this Thursday. Mr Bailey, of New Norfolk, died last Friday after a long illness.

The author and newspaper columnist’s death in Hobart came less than a month after his wife Lexia died following a short illness. Originally from South Australia, the couple retired to Tasmania in 1990 but life in their adopted home in the Derwent Valley was far from retiring.

Mr Bailey’s new environment ideally suited his passion for bushwalking, fishing, hunting, canoeing and other outdoor pursuits. It also allowed him to fully explore his decades-long passion for the thylacine and he developed a reputation as an expert on the subject.

He was certain that the Tasmanian tiger was not extinct and he spent much time searching in the South-West wilderness. His Tiger Tales column in the Derwent Valley Gazette led to a book publishing deal, and the world’s media beat a path to his door in Maydena.

Married for 63 years, Mr and Mrs Bailey were record-holding athletes in South Australia in their youth. Col was a long-distance walker and Lex was a sprinter. “Some say that’s how she caught Dad,” daughter Jennifer Stutter said at the weekend. “And only last week he told us how he was training for Olympic selection when a football injury to his hip ended his walking career,” Mrs Stutter said.

In Tasmania the couple lived at Tyenna, Maydena and New Norfolk. They are survived by four children and five grandchildren. Col’s funeral service be held at the Derwent Valley Salvation Army Corps, Hamilton Rd, New Norfolk, at 10am on March 3.

Picture: Col Bailey in 2001 with his first book.


  1. I had many chats about things when we spent time in the courtyard at the Old Colony Inn. I’m looking at my autographed copy of his book on the shelf.

    His passion for what he belived in was insirational. I use to say that.. in Tiger talk… each tiger out there is saying… Do not let them there things walking on two legs & carrying a stick that breaths fire and smoke EVER see you!

    I will miss him & am truly thank him for all his radom acts of kindness. He was always so generous with his time.

  2. RIP Colin….
    After reading his books, I contacted Colin by email a few years ago and shared with him my strange encounter with what my late father thought was a “Tasmanian tiger”in North Queensland….
    After waiting for his next (albeit) final book to come out, I once again touched base with him only to learn Colin had been unwell……
    So sad to lose such a respected and humble world authority on thylacines. May they all enjoy eternal peace wondering the Tasmanian wilderness. RIP.

  3. I am so sorry to hear of Col’s passing. I first contacted Col after reading Tiger Tales and we caught up a few time in the New Norfolk coffee shop to discuss Thylacines as I am a scientist researching dingoes in SW Queensland. I am coming back to Tassy in August and I had hoped to catch up with Col for another chat but alas it will not be. I remember the day he told me about the day he saw the Thylacine. He said a lot of people didn’t believe him and I told him I was not one of them. Col was a really genuine down to earth guy and I will always be thankful he took the time to meet with me to discuss our mutual love of wildlife. rest in peace Col and may your legacy go on in your books and with your children.

  4. I met Col and his beautiful wife about 12 years ago. I would ring Col every fornight and he’d tell me so many stories on his life and books.
    I am heart broken and shocked. It has hit me like a tonne of bricks and I can’t write any more as the tears are running down my face.

  5. I met Mr Bailey when I lived in New Norfolk in the early 90s. The initial connection was through the craft of pyrography and mutual acquaintances, and that led to conversations on many other things. I admired his passion for pursuing Thylacines & proving their ongoing survival beyond the popular belief they were extinct.

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