Apologies already for the misleading title, but “South Australia Has Limits on the Size of Your Fridge” is nowhere near as sexy.
The law itself is easy enough to explain but the purpose behind it is somewhat more intriguing and required a lot more research than you would expect…so you’re welcome.
Disclaimer: All puns are the pundits own and Commercial Lore takes no responsibility for the puns, both terrible and amazing, contained herein.
The South Australian law was enacted in 1961 in response to an apparent spate of deaths following people becoming trapped in fridges that could only open from the outside.
Under s58b of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA), it is illegal to sell or hire a fridge over 42.5 litres that cannot be opened easily from the inside. Or as the law originally stated any fridge over “one and one half cubic feet”…simpler times. Make South Australia Great Again.
A grandfather clause was also introduced providing an exception for any fridge that was purchased or imported to South Australia prior to 1962. The penalty for a person found with a husky esky is $750 of cold hard cash.
In addition to being illegal to sell or hire one, it is also illegal to dispose of one either through dumping (already illegal) or even placing one on a “dump, tip or sanitary depot”.
It’s proven impossible to find any convictions under this section but one could presume that at some stage a policeman broke out a measuring tape and asked whether their refrigerator was running.
Large Fridges Used to be Cool
This does not just appear to be a silly law, but rather an interesting time-capsule. It makes sense that fridges should be able to open from the inside to prevent unfortunate events. But compared to other states, it is interesting to consider whether South Australia’s fridge death problem was so great that they had to uniquely regulate the types of fridges people could sell. This law is probably past its use-by-date but it’s not hurting anyone, so you know, who cares.