Queensland became a separate British colony from NSW in 1859, cash poor but rich in land. The first parliaments knew a prosperous pastoral industry would generate income for Queensland through wool and beef exports so the politicians listened to the wants and needs of their constituents on the land.
One pressing complaint of the rural sector, both agricultural and grazing concerned kangaroos, wallabies and other marsupials. They ate food intended for both humans and stock and drank sparse water in drought-prone areas.
The situation couldn’t go on. Action was needed, action that took the form of a new law:
Image 1. The header of Queensland’s new law authorising a cull of kangaroos, wallabies and other marsupials. Image from the Queensland Government Gazette 1877 Volume XXI.
‘Destruction of Marsupials’ quite simply meant money for scalps. In the 1877 Act a scalp is defined as “a portion of the skin of the head of any marsupial to which both of its ears are attached”.