Starting point for it all

The origins of Thylascan, like many things in life, came down to chance more than design, when founder Bill Holden literally stumbled into this important role of recording and preserving natural history.

Some years ago, hiking along the remote Croajingalong National Park coastline in Victoria, Australia, Bill came across the washed up remains of a beached whale. The intact skeleton of a beautiful, massive creature stirred a primal consciousness as such things are normally only seen in museums.

"Through observation and touch we rekindle an appreciation of the aesthetic beauty of other creatures and discover our deep interconnection with them. Modern lives, expanding cities and loss of natural habitat make it harder for us to come into contact with these majestic creatures in our daily lives. And we are poorer for it."

Bill Holden, founder of Thylascan
- hiking in Croajingalong, National Park, Victoria, Australia

Bill went on with a developing interest in digitising museum exhibits and the potential for fuelling new knowledge and experiences with natural history. With a personal background in technology development, visual arts and a professional career at the CSIRO, Bill began experiments with lasers and CT scan systems to capture 3D data.

Museum Victoria granted access to a rare Thylacine exhibit (Thylacinus cynocephalus). The Thylacine was scanned to produce an accurate 3D software model, which was then used to successfully create a 1:1 scale 3D print.

The thylacine prototype opened up access to an amazing range of museum exhibits for further scanning and digital preservation. The outcome of this important journey led to the establishment of Thylascan a key driver being the examination of extinct and threatened species.

Original Thylacine exhibit being scanned
Thylacine software model
1:1 scale 3D printed Thylacine
Model of yellow sand scorpion

The primary aim of Thylascan's preservation of natural history, is to produce products with integrity that captures the beauty and poetry of nature.

Advanced technology allows us to explore the natural world and replicate it like never before. Staying true to the original exhibit, our work is based on accurate scientific data and presented as an art form to a broad audience. Thylascan models retain a high level of detail of the original enabling a number of products which include 3D printed models of varying scale.

We have been researching further areas and have begun scanning insects with amazing results, as well as finding inspiration for future possibilities with multi-layer 3D printing.

The Thylascan dream is that our journey leads to an ongoing sense of wonder and respect for the natural world and that these beautiful exhibits can be freed from simply being museum exhibits, to be touched and admired all over the world. In addition to 3D printed replicas, other products include 3D holograms, 2D prints and t-shirts. We have developed an App to allow broader access to 3D software models in an educational package that we hope will captivate audiences from all over the world.