1889 An Act to provide for the Destruction of Sparrows

Whereas it is desirable to make provision for the destruction of sparrows
Be it therefore Enacted by the Governor of the Province of South Australia, with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council and House of Assembly of the said province, in this present Parliament assembled, as follows:

  • 1. This Act may be cited for all purposes as "The Sparrow Destruction Act, 1889."
  • 2......any municipality constituted or having a council exercising local functions under "The Municipal Corporations Act, 1880," any district constituted or having a council exercising local functions under any District Councils Act, shall be a sparrow district for the purposes of this Act.
  • 3. The council of every ..... sparrow district, shall be ......charged with the duty and have authority to suppress and destroy sparrows thereon, and to prevent them breeding and increasing, and for that purpose to take all such measures and do and perform all and every such acts and things as may be proper or necessary.
  • 5. Every local authority may from time to time appoint inspectors and officers within their district for carrying into effect the provisions of this Act, and may from time to time remove every person so appointed.
  • 6 Any inspector may cause notice to be served requiring any occupier of land in any sparrow district, whether Government, public, or private property,....and any owner of any unoccupied land in any sparrow district, within twenty-one days after service of such notice, to destroy all sparrows' eggs, and do anything reasonably necessary and required by such notice for preventing sparrows building or increasing thereon.
  • 7. Every inspector. having given at least forty-eight hours' previous written notice of his intention so to do, may, from time to time, between the hours of seven o'clock in the morning and six o'c1ock in the evening, enter and remain for such time between such hours as may be reasonably necessary upon any land or building, whether government, public, or private property, .... for the purpose of searching for and ascertaining if sparrows, sparrows' eggs, or sparrows' nests are thereon.
  • 8. If default shall be made in compliance with the requirements of any notice ...., any inspector or officer, having given forty-eight hours' previous written notice of his intention so to do, may, at any time, not being earlier than sunrise or later than one hour after sunset, enter and....search for and destroy all sparrows and sparrows' eggs thereon, and do anything reasonably necessary for preventing sparrows from breeding or increasing thereon; and the cost thereby occasioned to the local authority shall be a debt from the defaulting owner or occupier, payable ...to the local authority, .....
  • 11... the making of by-laws for the suppression and destruction of sparrows, and for preventing them breeding and increasing; and any such by-law may provide for the enforcement thereof by a penalty not exceeding Two Pounds to be recovered in a summary way.
  • 13. Any person who shall wilfully obstruct or hinder any inspector or Officer under this Act.....shall, on conviction, for every such offence be liable to forfeit and pay a penalty not exceeding Five Pounds, or to be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for any period not exceeding one month:....
  • 14. Any person who shall wilfully let loose any sparrows.........in any part of the province shall, on conviction, for every such offence be liable to forfeit and pay a penalty not exceeding Ten Pounds, or to be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for any period not exceeding three months.
  • 18. The use of poison for the destruction of sparrows may be authorised by any local authority.....
  • 19. In every sparrow district, payment may be made by the local authority for sparrows and sparrows' eggs collected and destroyed within such district...
  • 20. This Act shall not apply to any sparrow other than that known as the common house sparrow (passer domesticus).

March 16, 1892


The third annual distribution of prizes in connection with the Sparrow Destruction Club was held in in the Wesleyan Lecture Hall, Brighton, on Friday, March 11. Mr. Joseph Curnow, J.P. (President), was in the chair.

The Secretary (Mr. S. H. Shephard) reported that the returns for the season were 15,557 birds destroyed, at a cost of £11 14s. 3d. Last season the club paid at the rate of 2s. per hundred, but owing to the number being larger and the subscriptions less the rate this season was only 1s. 6d. per hundred.

Thirty one boys competed, and the highest number obtained by one boy was by Joseph Downing, 2,425. Last year this same boy collected nearly 4,000, while at the Adelaide Show on Thursday seven boys did not obtain 5,000.

A report from the Secretary (Mr. George Western) was received from the Marion Club, and showed that 10,922 had been destroyed there at a cost of £10 I2s. 3d., being at the rate of 2s, per hundred, the same as last year.

The Marion District Council and the Brighton Corporation voted a sum of £5 to each respective club. The combined efforts of the two clubs have resulted in the destruction of nearly 67,000 sparrows in three years - in 1890, 10,000; 1891, 21,238; 1892, 20,479; grand total, 56,717.

These figures speak for themselves. Taking into consideration these numbers, with their increase and compound increase, there would have been about as many millions in the ordinary course of events to worry and harass the farmer and fruitgrower. If this method were adopted all over the colony in a few years the sparrow pest would be completely eradicated at a very low cost. The following is the prize list......

August 21, 1894


On Saturday the Glenelg Corporation officers were engaged in distributing wheat to local ratepayers with which to poison the sparrows that flit about the municipality.

It was arranged that a special day should be set apart for an effort at destruction, so that the action would be combined and widespread. About 70 residents applied at the Town Hall, and each received a bag of the poisoned grain, but it is of course too soon to be able to gauge yet the result of this attack upon the birds.

One of the councillors told his colleagues at their meeting on Friday evening that the sparrows would prove too cunning for all their devices. "He had tried to get rid of them by means of poisoned grain, but they only looked at it and with a grin shook their little tails and away they flew."

Some of the ratepayers being pigeon fanciers view the action with great disfavour. The local homing fraternity, or some of those that are supposed to represent them, make all sorts of threats that if any of their prize birds are killed by the poisoned wheat they will take action against the persons responsible.

News 20 November 2008

The population of house sparrows in Britain has fallen by 68% in the past three decades, according to the RSPB.

A report by the charity said the paving over of front gardens and removal of trees had caused a big decline in insects that the birds eat.

It suggests sparrows are now disappearing altogether from cities such as London, Bristol and Edinburgh. .....

The house sparrow has been added to the list of species identified by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan as in need of greater protection.