(page 4)

Parliament House (Hobart) - circa 1873
Parliament House (Hobart), circa 1873.  Photo courtesy: State Library of Tasmania.

    The Mercury newspaper of the 8th October 1886 (p. 3) details the parliamentary debate on the destruction of the native tiger.  The following is a summary of that debate, together with the principal characters involved:

    Mr. LYNE moved:

    "That an address be presented to His Excellency the Governor, praying that His Excellency will be pleased to recommend the sum of £500 for the destruction of tigers, otherwise known as the Tasmanian dingoes.  He moved this motion, owing to the fact that great numbers of sheep were destroyed by those animals, and many people were at great expense in keeping down the pest.  He was a member of a society which paid £3 per head for native tigers captured, and this society had been at considerable expense.  He advocated that the Government should pay to such societies a moiety of the sum paid, say, 30s of their £3.  There were a great many complaints of the destruction of sheep, and on one run which he rented from the Crown 14 sheep bad been destroyed in one week, and he had to give up the run.  It was on Crown land these animals were fostered".

    Mr. HUSTON seconded.

    The Minister of Lands said that: "Speaking as member for Cumberland, he hoped the House would grant what the committee asked.  In the Lake country these animals had been very destructive, and they had not one redeeming feature".

    Dr. CROWTHER: "Unless in the menagerie" (laughter).

    The Minister of Lands: "Hoped, in the interests of his constituents, the motion would be passed, and a small sum granted".

    Mr. FENTON: "Hoped the committee would not be granted, as he thought the sheep owners should protect themselves".

    Mr. PILLINGER said that: "The Hon. Minister, in supporting the motion, said that he did not speak as Minister of Lands, but he considered that was a question that should engage the attention of the Ministry, because there was a vast extent of land in this colony only fit for pasture runs; and, owing to the depredations of this animal, the tenants were compelled in many cases to give them up.  He alluded, to his own losses, and said that in many cases sheep owners were occupying land at a loss, owing to the damage sustained.  He thought something should be done by the Government to protect their own interest in this respect".

    Mr. BRADDON wondered: "Why the Minister of Lands did not assume the character of the hon. member for Cumberland when some hon. members asked for a road. (Laughter).  He did not see why this road (Laughter).  He did not see why this vote should be passed.  Why not bring in a bill?  They had bills for rabbits, etc., and he did not see why the tiger should not be included".

    Mr. SUTTON said that: "He knew sheep owners were at a great expense in ridding themselves of the pest, and had been eminently successful".

    Mr. DUMARESQ opposed the motion, as he did not see how the whole colony should be at the expense of putting down the tiger.  "They might as well include the Tasmanian devil, which was equally destructive to lambs, and he thought this work should be left to private enterprise".

.  Mr. FALKINER said that: "In the district of Fingal thousands of acres had been given up owing to the prevalence of this pest, which had greatly increased of late years.  He was sure that if this money was voted the improvement in land would pay it off in a year or so.  It was a worse pest than the rabbits".

    Mr. BIRD said that: "He was astonished to hear the hon. member say that this was a worse pest than the rabbits".

    Mr. FALKINER: "On Crown lands".

    Mr. BIRD maintained that: "They should act upon a fixed principle in regard to this matter.  He was sure that if this money was voted they would be inundated with similar applications; for example, he would be inclined to move for a substantial sum for the destruction of the codlin moth.  (Hear, hear.)  He held that those pests which only affected sections of the community should he dealt with by those sections".

    The TREASURER said he would: "Vote for the committee, because he found that large areas of Crown lands were being given up on account of this pest, and that consequently the revenue suffered".

    Mr. MACKENZIE opposed the motion, stating that: "In his district the inhabitants took the matter of dealing with these pests into their own hands".
.  Mr. LUCAS supported the motion on the ground that: "This pest affected the revenue".
.  Mr. YOUNG opposed the motion.  He thought that: "If any persons were able to take care of themselves it was the large sheep owners".

    Colonel ST. HILL: "Did not see that it would be a great calamity if the sheep owners were driven off the Crown lands, as many parts of those lands were of agricultural value and it would be much better to have them populated with settlers.  He would vote against the motion, because he considered that if the pest was so destructive as stated it should be dealt with by a bill".

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