Friend M alerted me to past Tasmanian history and the codling moth.
She told me ‘Tasmania, and I guess some other states, had a Codling Moth Act, 1880 I think. It was very brief only a few paragraphs and printed like all Acts on A5 or in this case it was so brief it was on A4 folded once. How do I know this? For some reason can’t think why I did a project about 20 years ago sifting through legal acts that are no longer needed and needed to be rescinded. This is the only Act I remember because it was the most precise piece of legislation I had ever seen. ‘
M continued. ‘It made it illegal to have infestations of moths in apple trees and was policed. Apples were a huge export once. I think by law orchards had to use DDT or something poisonous. Then exports were rejected by UK because of the lead or something. Maybe I dreamt all that but I maybe not. It went out I think with the Noxious Weeds Act where you could be fined heavily for cape weed and thistles. The boys from school used to have holiday jobs chipping weeds out on farms. And in those days you could trap blackbirds or starlings or both and take the heads to the police station and get three pence a head for them. Times have changed. Maybe always changing.’
An informative 1879 Tasmanian paper provides information at that time in history.
Hobart’s major newspaper, The Mercury, published articles and letters to the editor over the years and there was considerable correspondence in the 1880s. Here is one example.
In The Mercury of the 25th February 1880 The Codling Moth Eradication Bill was before Parliament.
In The Mercury of the 11th August 1880 the Attorney General notes the bringing in of legislation.
These newspaper notices support friend M’s memory of a piece of legislation. Whatever was inscribed in the Act, clearly the codling moths fluttered their wings in disregard, as is evidenced by the descendant pesty insects in my apples and pears.