Rabbit Proof Fence

We pulled in for a break and found information on the Rabbit Proof Fence. It was an interesting stop. The rabbits came to Australia by way of Thomas Austin. In 1859 he released 24 on his property. Seemed like a good idea at the time. A little old fashion English hunting. The rabbits quickly did what rabbits do and multiplied. By 1894 they had

hopped their way through Victoria, New South Wales, Southern Queensland and South Australia. Their next stop was Western Australia. The threat was so grim, in 1901 a Royal Commission was held and soon after the longest fence in the world was started. Over 400 men worked as part of the labour gangs and 8,000 tonnes of materials was used. Man and materials were carried by horse, camel or donkeys to where they were needed. The fence was finally finished in 1907. It cost (at the time) £167 per mile ($250 per k.) The work wasn’t over, the fence had to be maintained.   25 Boundary riders travelled the fence line fixing it as needed. They would stay in huts located by the fence about 48k apart. Some of the boundary rider would collect supplies from the local towns and be back out again. Their time away form home could last up to 6 months at a time. Most of that time boundary riders would have been on their own. (Minnivale is also known as 36-mile post for the Rabbit Proof Fence.)

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