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The Pastoral Review - 1948 - Rabbits (1948)

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The Pastoral Review 1948:

Avenel Interior of the Post Office - which is now closed in its present location and moved across to the Newsagents & Groceries. Hails & Nails and Avenel Country Kitchens (extension Built On) is in this building.

The legend that rabbits were introduced into Australia for sporting purposes dies hard. A glance at historical records will show that rabbits like sheep came to this country with Captain Phillip in the First Fleet. Like sheep they died out. For somewhat different reasons, but chiefly to argument food supply, importations of both were continued.

Avenel The Commercial Bank opened in 1873 closed in 1985, the first Manager was Mr Gibbs, original wooden building burnt down early 1940's. Deeded to Avenel Historical Society (no longer in operation) and brought by the Harvest Home complex, which was recently sold.

It took longer, much longer, for rabbits to take hold than for sheep. The heat was against them. Their natural enemies, Hawks, Ticks, Goannas, Dingoes, Blood Sucking or Flesh eating animals Birds & Reptiles were too strong for them under natural conditions.

Avenel Under Hughes Creek Bridge remembering that once one could swim in it and even jump off the bridge, now it is all silted up and looking like its former self.

It was not till various Victorian landholders gave them favoured treatment that rabbits became established. Our vacant spaces were ideal breeding grounds and once the imported animals had bred up sufficiently to more than meet the demand for them in wild life they showed what they could do.

Avenel Spitit of Progress actually broken down - awaiting replacement engine

At the beginning of the present century organised attempts were made to put what had now become a pest on the basis of an industry. But those who had already suffered from the rabbit, and knew the danger, fought all such efforts tooth and nail. Already dry times had began to be spoken of as rabbit droughts, the devourers having given up indifferent seasons all the worst characteristics of the worst dry times. The chief argument used against the proposed use of the rabbit was that every pound so made would cost four or five pounds, if not to the actual operator at any rate to Australia. Already, it had only been made only too plain that the invader not only ate all the grass and herbage but chewed them out, roots and all. Nor did he stop there. Over thousands of square miles he had destroyed valuable trees that could never be replaced. Reduction of stock by the grazier was of no use, it only meant more rabbits. Then came the great attack dogs, guns, traps, poison, digging them out. All failed. To quite a considerable extent the complete failure of this organised assault arose from the fact that a few amongst the small landholders and many of those who held no land, were making easy money out of the pest, while amongst the latter were some who were actually spreading it. Furthermore Political interests became involved.

Avenel Site of the Plough Inn, of which I have never seen a photo of the buisness. Any photo's of the Plough Inn gratefully accepted.

For years the grazier had been yielding ground to the rabbiter, who makes an easy living, and when he likes to work, a great deal of ready money from land which he pays nothing and towards the upkeep of which he does not contribute a penny. He uses it as he likes, then passes on, leaving the genuine occupier carrying the burden. So long as the present high prices of wool and meat continue, the dangers inherent in the situation will be regarded complacently, but it should never be forgotten that, so far at least, Australia has drawn its chief financial support not from rabbits but from sheep.

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