Run Rabbit Run Rabbit Run Run Run

Image: Rabbit Catchers Source: Oakey Library

Image: Rabbit Catchers
Source: Oakey Library

With Easter coming up I thought I’d write about a different kind of Bunny (although I wouldn’t say no to a chocolate one right now). I came across this image in the collection, and it reminded me of riding in the back of the ute at night, tearing through the scrubby paddocks shooting rabbits and later, mum making rabbit nuggets out of them.

Image: Rabbit Board Districts and Fences Map Source: National Library of Australia

Image: Rabbit Board Districts and Fences Map
Source: National Library of Australia

Rabbits, like cane toads and the prickly pear, were introduced by settlers and later became an epidemic pest (there’s a reason why “breed like rabbits” is a traditional saying). In 1878 Queensland introduced the Rabbit Nuisance Bill and the Act in 1880. Work on the rabbit-proof fence didn’t begin until 1886, at a point 25.6km west of the Warrego River. Queensland was divided into nine separate Rabbit Board Districts between 1892 and 1905. By 1903 the fence was completed and reached within a few kilometres of Haddon Corner and east to Mungindi.

The fences were patrolled regularly when first built but as time progressed the fence line fell into disrepair and ceased being the barrier it was designed to be. In 1930, the number of rabbit boards was reduced to three, Leichhardt, Darling Downs, and Moreton. With the Leichhardt board closing in 1963, the government merged the two remaining boards and formed the Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board, which is still functioning today. At the height of the rabbit-fence border patrol days the fence stretched 47 404km with a combination of Government, Rabbit Board and Private fences. Today there is only 555km of rabbit fence maintained by the Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board.

That’s me for this week, for more information about what Toowoomba Regional land owners need to do if they have rabbits on their property visit the Toowoomba Regional Council Rabbit Control page.

And I still don’t have my chocolate bunny!darling_downs_-_moreton_rabbit_district

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