Witchcraft Acts in Australia

So after learning of the Witchraft Act being revoked in England I wanted to check how long it took before Australia followed suit, since I am from here.

Here is some interesting history:

New South Wales

The Witchcraft Act of 1735 was repealed by the Imperial Acts Application Act, 1969 (NSW),

The offence of fortune telling, [Section 4(2)(n) of the Vagrancy Act, 1902 (NSW)] was through many submissions and changes finally repealed by the Summary Offences Act (Repeal) Act, 1979 (NSW)

South Australia

The Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Public Offences) Act, 1991 abolished the Witchcraft laws in SA

However the 1991 Act came with a new section Section 40. A person who, with intent to defraud purports to act as a spiritualist or medium or to exercise powers of telepathy or clairvoyance or other similar powers, is guilty of an offence.

Summary Offences Act as Section 40.


Section 13 of the Vagrancy Act 1958 which is entitled ‘Fortune Telling and Pretending to Exercise Witchcraft, etc’:

Any person who pretends or professes to tell fortunes or uses any subtle craft means or device by palmistry or otherwise to defraud or impose on any other person or pretends to exercise or use any kind of witchcraft sorcery enchantment or conjuration or pretends from his skill or knowledge in any occult or crafty science to discover where or in what manner any goods or chattels stolen or lost may be found shall be guilty of an offence.

The Pagan Awareness Network Inc made a submission amongst others to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee in Victoria during 2002 in the regard to supporting the repeal of this act.

On the 3rd of September 2002 it was recommended to the Attorney General by the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee in Victoria that this law should be repealed . The status of the repeal is not known at this time. When this law is gone there will be no standing Witchcraft laws in Australia

In July 2005 this law was finally repealed with the "Vagrancy (Repeal) and Summary Offences (Amendment) Act 2005". There are no standing Witchcraft laws in Australia now.

It is interesting to see that my state of Victoria being the most strict as always (look at our lockdowns), only more recently as 2005 abolished all laws pertaining to witchcraft!


That’s really interesting! It looks like in both England and Australia the laws around witchcraft changed quite a bit over the years. Looking back makes me appreciate how far we’ve come. There are definitely still stereotypes that cast a shadow over the practice for some, but it’s freeing to think about how at least now many of us can practice without fear of prosecution.

Thanks for sharing this research, @Temujin_Calidius! :raised_hands: :sparkles:


Super interesting topic!

It’s nice to see that you are living in an open-minded state, and that you will be free from persecution for the foreseeable future :relieved:

Thank you for doing this research and sharing it with us, Samuel :+1:


@Temujin_Calidius that is very interesting to know! I had no idea there were any in Australia that were so recent. Thank you for sharing.