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:
"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".
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
"Unless in the menagerie" (laughter).
of Lands: "Hoped, in the interests of his constituents, the motion
would be passed, and a small sum granted".
FENTON: "Hoped the committee would not be granted, as he thought
the sheep owners should protect themselves".
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".
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".
SUTTON said that: "He knew sheep owners were at a great expense
in ridding themselves of the pest, and had been eminently successful".
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".
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".
BIRD said that: "He was astonished to hear the hon. member say that
this was a worse pest than the rabbits".
FALKINER: "On Crown lands".
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".
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".
MACKENZIE opposed the motion, stating that: "In his district the
inhabitants took the matter of dealing with these pests into their own
LUCAS supported the motion on the ground that: "This pest affected
YOUNG opposed the motion. He thought that: "If any persons
were able to take care of themselves it was the large sheep owners".
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