|A clutch of eggs of a house sparrow, Passer domesticus. “Passerdomesticuseggs” by Notafly. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Passerdomesticuseggs.JPG|
My great great grandfather James Francis Cudmore (1837 – 1912) detested house sparrows. He was one of many people in the late 1880s who believed sparrows to be nothing but a nuisance. To help eradicate sparrows James Cudmore provided prize money for the largest collection of sparrows’ eggs to be exhibited at the 1889 Brighton Floricultural and Horticultural Show. Cudmore lived at Paringa Hall at Brighton, South Australia.
|THE SPARROW PEST. (1889, June 22). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), p. 5. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47065831|
In all over 3,500 eggs were collected by three competitors for the show which was held in October.
|JUVENILE FLORAL AND INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITIONS. (1889, October 26). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), p. 6. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47287895|
House sparrows were introduced into Australia in the 1860s to eat caterpillars, which were thought to be ruining the livelihood of many farmers.
|HEADS OF EUROPEAN AND AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE. (1863, February 14). South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1858 – 1867), p. 1 Supplement: Supplement to the South Australian Weekly Chronicle. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90262153|
The release of sparrows in Ararat, Victoria, was reported in the newspapers.
|PARLIAMENTARY. (1867, October 23). The Wallaroo Times and Mining Journal (Port Wallaroo, SA : 1865 – 1881), p. 3. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110359540|
In less than six months there were reports that sparrows had become a pest.
|VICTORIA. (1868, March 25). The Wallaroo Times and Mining Journal (Port Wallaroo, SA : 1865 – 1881), p. 5. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110360694|
In 1868 when sparrows were introduced in Mount Gambier, South Australia, it was acknowledged that they were a problem in orchards, but they were still thought to be beneficial for other farmers.
|Local Intelligence. (1868, April 11). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77164789|
Eight years later, in 1874, sparrows were being declared a nuisance without reservation and were denounced as one of the “greatest blights in both Horticultural and Agricultural efforts”. The Victorian Acclimatisation society was blamed for their introduction. It was suggested that the formation of sparrow clubs, with the purpose of destroying sparrows, might cope with the pest.
|THE SPARROW NUISANCE. (1874, September 26). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77552028|
At its third Annual General Meeting in 1881, the South Australian Acclimatization Society was keen to distance itself from the introduction of sparrows and rabbits. It was asserted that sparrows were imported into South Australia before the Society was established and rabbits had been released by private individuals.
|ACCLIMATIZATION SOCIETY. (1881, November 7). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 – 1889), p. 1 Supplement: Unknown. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article34272260|
In December 1889, the year James Cudmore offered the prize for the largest collection of sparrows’ eggs, a Sparrow Destruction Bill was passed by the South Australian Parliament. A similar Bill had been considered in 1887 but was defeated.
|The Sparrows. (1889, December 20). The Narracoorte Herald (SA : 1875 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146689363|
In 1952, more than sixty years later, a Mr Frank Edwards remembered collecting sparrow eggs for the bounty at Marino just south of Brighton and delivering them to the police station.
|Out Among The People By vox . (1952, October 31). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47429557|
- WHAT ACCLIMATIZATION HAS DONE AND IS DOING. (1863, April 15). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), p. 3. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50160493
- G. C. Fendley, ‘McCoy, Sir Frederick (1817–1899)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mccoy-sir-frederick-4069/text6491, published in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 4 September 2014.
- “Destruction of Sparrows.” The Mid North and the Southern Flinders Ranges. Southernflinders-midnorth.com.au, 25 Aug. 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2014. <http://www.southernflinders-midnorth.com.au/narrate/n_sparrows.htm>.
- Slee, Max. “Policing the Outlaw Sparrow.” Hue and Cry: Official Newsletter. South Australian Police Historical Society Inc, 2012. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <http://www.sapolicehistory.org/Winter-12.html#blast>.