Tasmanian Poultry Society

A woman feeding fowls, 1910 (AOT, PH30/1/4225)

Poultry exhibiting began in England in 1845, its popularity linked to the abolition of cock-fighting in 1849. The Tasmanian Poultry Society, originally the Ornithological Society of Tasmania, was formed in Hobart in 1854. In 1855, the first exhibition was held. Seventy-two coops, containing an array of poultry including black swan, were exhibited. The first exhibitions included colonial-bred and imported categories. They were largely educational, promoting breeding practices and displaying modern devices such as incubators, but also acted as a market for poultry and related products.

In the twentieth century, there was a strong division between exhibition of fancy birds and utility birds. A by-product of the growing interest in utility birds was the introduction of egg-laying competitions, which were popular and fiercely contested. In 2004, the Tasmanian Poultry Society celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Further reading: D Snowden, 'The Tasmanian Poultry Society', Tasmanian Ancestry 25/1, 2004.

Dianne Snowden