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Australia's Rabbit-proof Fence

2013-04-01 | 🔗

Many English settlers brought animals and plants to Australia, including rabbits. The rabbit population exploded, and rabbit-controlling fences were started by the 1880s. Work on the State Barrier Fence began in 1901, and it's still maintained today.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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I dont think America has ever gone back to the way that it was before the DC sniper. The gunman most likely assailed marksman fired six times in the course of sixteen hours. The police say they have never had a crime. Quite like this. It is quite a mystery and then, as the DC sniper case, unfolded that terror boldly Ruth. This was the most intense man Hunt in american law enforcement. History, listen to monster DC, sniper on the eye, hard radio, F, Apple, podcast or wherever you get your packets. welcome to stuff you missed in history class from how support hi. I am tracing, be Wilson Fr I welcome with upon, can so
previous episode, we talked about the Great EMU war and some you open that episode, which comes out pretty often if you are reading about Australia, particularly if you are reading about the state of Western Australia, it's the rabbit proof fence, which I no nothing about before we got into that one I feel like it keeps coming up when I'm reading things about Australia, there's also a film I have seen called rather prevents that came up. Two thousand and two it's about young girls, who were part of the stolen generation of the fairies who follow the rabbit, prevents home too back to where they came from in jig, along its based on the book. Followed the rabbit prevents the school The film is by Peter Gabriel. I like it quite a lot. I have not seen the film, but I will make yes. It is a swipe digression, but.
Every time a rabbit proof. France comes up, I go ok. Obviously there are lots of rabbits and Australia. Somebody put up a big fence, what's really going on with this fence, and so that's it, When we talk about in this episode year and firstly, have the kind of starving how we got introduced right to the environment, and the earliest european settlers to Australia, as most will know, were convicts and their keepers. by the MID eighteen, hundreds more affluent english people were starting to settle. There is well they allow, then brought animals and plants from home with them. Try to make us feel more. Like England, these people, or known as a climate Heizer, there were motivation societies, including the victorian climate evasion society, which was founded in eighteen, sixty one by Edward Wilson, so Really what they were after was to try to make Us Tralee, which does not feel like England in most places feel more like England yeah.
It was their own weird version of terror, forming right to try to turn it somehow into an english countryside in a lot of ways. This was deeply unsuccessful and damaging with this being one example Enter Thomas Austin, he was born in Somerset, England and his uncle James was a convict settlers who had been sent to Hobart Town has J. Is often died before Thomas and his family got two Tasmania in eighteen, thirty one, but they are money in his will. in many of the family actually returned to England, but Thomas and his brother decided, whose name was, It was decided that they were going to stay down under and make it go of it in eighteen, thirty and Thomas and James moves to what, with later become Victoria Thomas established the estate of borrowing park, which was of forty two room mansion. Eventually, he didn't build that right off the bat, but eventually there was a. two room mansion there. It was there but by twenty nine thousand acres of stocked grounds,
farm, sheep and raisins horses, among other things, on all of this land, and he also really wanted some rabbits. And he had married Elizabeth Philips Harding in Melbourne on August, fourteenth of eighteen, forty, five and together have eleven children, aid of whom survive to adulthood and He also is one of the people who introduce Pharaoh's to Australia. Also later became pests. Yes, so here we have honest. His family, his wife living on state together really wanting to introduce rabbits there. Demand if they were the only people who were of this mindset. There was a demand for rabbits and Australia early climate advisers, had brought domesticated rabbits which did ok when people were looking after them they managed to escape into the australian wilderness. They usually did not manage to survive really well. Sometimes they would manage to
I was a little colony, get kind of a foothold, but they didn't run rampant anywhere. They did little better in Tasmania and some of the other smaller islands. The main australian continent. But in general domesticated round so we are not doing so well, no was actually asked his nephew William ACT to bring him some wild rabbits in an effort to kind of bolster the population and William twenty four rabbits on the clipper lightning in December of eighteen. Fifty nine eight those rabbits were feral and they had just been trapped and held in an enclosed Warren. They weren't domesticated they weren't accustomed interacting with humans at all, this in an act he became quite notorious for doing so that thirteen of the rabbits free he eleven of them in fenced enclosures on his property, and they multiplied as rabbits do
three years later, a flood destroyed part of his fence, and so some of those now huge population rabbits escaped into the australian territory, which caused an explosion of the population, yes by eighteen, sixty seven rabbits were really everywhere and Thomas would have rabbit. Hunting parties at his estate, Prince Alfred of Edinburgh went on a hunting day in borrowing park that year and he shot four hundred and sixteen rabbits and three and a half hours he replied we had to have attendance on hand to hand him new guns when the one he was using got too hot because he was shooting too fast for his guns to cool down between shots by sixty nine, the infestation of rabbits was causing property values in some areas to plummet. themselves. We should point out we're not the only ones to blame. Farmers were actually clearing woodland and making it
more hospitable environment for the rabbits to thrive in their entered, thin within Victoria on the coast and the Far South EAST of Australia and they north and West, from their by Eighteen Eightys, the government have started offering bounties on dead rabbits because there were so many of them and by nineteen hundred rabbits wherein all or part of every australian state they. The biggest nuisance outside of the tropical areas. And this was less than forty years after they were introduced to Australia. They were in every state of Australia, the big continent. It is that's up the explosive population growth for any animal lesson for decades to completely engulf a common, is pretty amazing right that rabbits, because, pray for other introduced species like wild cats, wild dogs, foxes and Ngos. All of these
that for dingoes were introduced after the landing of the first fleet, which was the eleven ships that reached Australia from Great Britain in seventeen. Eighty eight a lot of people give dingoes as being native to Australia, but they real arrived to Australia wins humans did about three thousand or four thousand years ago. So whether to called dingoes native is a subject of debate here, and in addition to the basic nuisance factor that was going on and the fact that the rabbits crowning out native species they could also completely strip an area of anything they would eat. That includes food crops. They were intended for people as well, as that were intended to support the raising of other animals said this also lead not only to things going without food, but also really bad erosion issues right. You can find picture sometimes of really well maintained, rabbit fences and on one side of the fence. Will treat me completely stripped of all vegetation and, on the other side, no beheld in grass growing, so it
It's dramatic difference of rabbits verses, no rabbits, their extremely thorough in finding every conceivable element in an environment. Yes, and then in an attempt to keep rabbits out of their property. Often this was not effective at all, because they were already rabbits on both sides of the fence and also rabbits like the borough under things, and so even if there had If at all, because they were already rabbits on both sides of the fence and also rabbits like the borough under things, and so even if there had not been rabbits on both sides of the fence, the rabbits would just dig a hole underneath come upon the other side. So Eventually, construction was begun on what he, what became the state barrier fence and that happen from nineteen o one night. He no seven and this followed I've month, investigation by Arthur Mason, which started in eighteen. Ninety, six Anders Commission in nineteen O. One soap
contractors? Did the work on the state barrier fence and then handed over to the public works Department in nineteen o for the fence itself, with originally being built, was made of wooden posts. Liar and wire netting with gates every thirty four kilometres which is about twenty miles and traps to try to catch rabbits that did manage to borough under it, usually The trees were cutting timber from the surrounding trees to make the posts, and if there weren't any trees, they would use metal posts. Instead, the netting The fence also extends underground to try to prevent burrowing from underneath it yeah coat. The bottom part of the in the hope of keeping it from resting out this episode of stuff you missed in history, glances brought. You buy Norton three sixty with lifelong. Let's just say your shopping online with your smartphone. I do it all the time. They sure feels that your personal info is right there in your hand, but that's it. always the case, because as soon as you hit submit your person
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because there's always that guy who joined your game, He never passes the rock he instantly bricks theories and completely hack you and then put his hands up and say no foul, no foul with ECHO. Is it's easy to switch and save on car insurance, no need to fake an angel sprang because you're absolutely exhausted, so which, in save with back up its own Better than sports The number one fence runs from to south, roughly through the middle of Western Australia, the numbers fan stretches out east to West, about midway down the number one fence and the number two stretches north to south dividing the zone created by the number one in number three senses, roughly in half, so basically theirs running the entire height of Australia from North to south. All the way down,
The reason that there are three of them is because, as they were, building rabbits kept getting ahead of the fence, and so they were sort of further sub dividing to try to keep the rabbits contained. What they wound up with was three thousand two hundred and fifty six kilometers, which is two thousand twenty three miles of fence which More than three hundred thousand pounds at the time like we said. No lasting Australia was not on the dollar for money at the time. So it's a little hard to compare what that would amount to you in today's money. In the fences fell under the jurisdiction of I love. This title the first chief inspector of rabbits, Fizzy was Alexander Crawford completion in nineteen O. Seven he took over is chief inspector of rabbits, which is the best thing: to put our better title art of all time, right that it just building offence was not enough.
They were going to then have to inspect the fence constantly to make sure that it didn't get damaged or burrowed under people. Would travel of the length of the fence using bicycles, horses and camels too late for breaches, and they were huts set up period periodically along the way that people could stay and while they were doing us inspection once motorway those became more common people did start using them to inspect the that really in the beginning, it was bicycles, horses, camels or on foot, which is a lot offence to try to fix the distance So it is in their work our there is that motor vehicles could even reach, so they had to retain some of those slower methods for the m. Those areas that just couldn't be arrived at by car right and there were other anti rabbit senses constructed elsewhere in Australia. This these three were not the only ones now, there's
the dog fence, which goes its very meandering, but it's in a roughly EAST West direction through South Australia, then along the South, Australia, Australia, Queensland New South Wales border three Queensland and almost to the coast. It keep. the Ngos on one side of the fence and was when bingo attacks were happening so frequently that it had become basically impossible to raise sheep. also, in addition to their being multiple other vermin. Excluding fences is the broad cattle they fall into the state. France also discuss the other animals than rabbits such as areas as we talked about in the previous episode? The thing is that all of these countries, all of these fences, remain a little controversial. Whether or not they really work, whether therein on the biodiversity? The areas outweighs the benefit of can vermin and so it
while they are doing your jobs. In many cases, some people question their validity as a maintained entity like are we wasting our time and money on this right by the Department of Agriculture and food Does anyone decided sense was now mean. Would now contained by the Department of agriculture. The agriculture protection the state Verrier Fence Advisory committee, local shy? and stakeholders. So every year the fence is has about thirty to thirty five amateurs that need replacing sections have steel and more modern prefabricated knitting right. So it's over still there still being maintained, still attempting do the job of keeping rabbits on one side and not on the other side, or at least fewer rabbits on one side, then, on the other side, and rabbits are still a nuisance right now there there's a similar.
Controversial attempts to introduce diseases into rabbit populations to try to curb their spread, and there there are lots of layers of the reasons why that can be problematic or upset to some people, but that that is one of the things that is being done in an attempt to keep their rabbit population from completely over running the risk of Australia. So one wouldn't legacy to look at is that of the man who brought rabbits to Australia, Thomas really, started to take the blame for the rabbit investigation? Pretty early on probably not the only person to bring rabbits eventually did multiply that that sort of unlikely he was really boastful about what he was doing. He free We gave breeding pairs to people as gifts, so while it
probably not true that the entire population of rabbits and Australia now is the fault of this one guy. He he was. Taken the hit here. You be dragged about his right, to lie in and he made a name for himself that way he D I'd on December, fifteenth eight seventy one, which was six months after their mansion, was finished his widow. Eventually used her money to open a hospital for what they called incurables in eighteen. Eighty two and she opened a children's ward in eighteen. Ninety eight, so they went on to have oh legacy and Australia. Apart from the rabbits. Only if all the negative rabbit image is not the only thing that his family left behind, which is good they're going to recognise that, while he's getting all the flag, probably there were many other rabbit. People who just did not make quite the name for themselves that he did
yeah, he was not the only person that wanted to turn Australia into England. Now it's it's very likely that plan Other people were bringing in rabbits as well as others, these another thing that you'll see and other english colonies and attempts to make other places that are absolutely not England, more England there, it's England, hello, real tradition and is absolutely problematic. That is a thing that definitely contributed in a long, lasting way to a lot of parts of the world for good or for ill, and that's the story of the rabbit fence. We know available. Now from my heart, a new series presented by T Mobile for business, the restless ones join
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listener male horizons enables airmail as a listener postcard, it shows on the front a very lovely picture of a coastline like a hilly coastline with a village at the bottom of it. It is the village of active which is a native alaskan village in the illusion islands, less than a hundred people, with their written on a cruise, far less than people live there along with a fish processing plant. Sarah who wrote this to us so it to the alaskan villages with all of the by three hundred pounds and And boats to do I exams I work in the public eye. Service, so it keeps us very busy travelling to the villages with all of the eye equipment. Three hundred pounds and doing I exams, I all is bring you with me to put on speaker during my hikes to keep the mayor's away. That's the best use of our progress.
You didn't think I love a hearing about people who are using the pie gas to sort of do task. They don't like to do, but scaring bears away is a new and also more spectacular. So too, return to serious postcard, thanks for keeping me entertained and safe more native American in Alaska stories would be great. Sarah, thank you, Sarah for this post, I love hearing about your hiking in your bears in your eye exams. They say yes,. please do if you will The right to a few May at history, podcast at discovery. Dot com were also on Facebook at Facebook, not calm, slash history, class stuff and on twitter at missed in history we ve just start. But Tumblr, which has missed in history, that tumblr dot com and centrist it's everywhere. If you would like to learn more about what we have talked about today, go to our website and type in the word invasive species and search bar, and you will find invasive species that might conquer the world spoiler.
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