Sunday, January 26, 2020

Fence Week, cintinuedL Australia Day and Oz Fences


Today is Australia Day in Oz. 

From Wikipedia: 
Australia Day, celebrated annually on 26 January, marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip. For the benefit of overseas readers, it marks the first settling of Australia.  
Celebrations reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation and are marked by community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards and citizenship ceremonies.  
Since at least 1938, the date of Australia Day has also been marked by Indigenous Australians, and those sympathetic to the cause, mourning what is seen as the invasion of the land by Europeans and protesting its celebration as a national holiday. These groups sometimes refer to 26 January as Invasion Day, Survival Day, or Day of Mourning to observe it as a counter-celebration and advocate that the date should be changed, or that the holiday should be abolished entirely. 
I do not propose to enter into that debate, instead here are some Fence Week items from Oz . . . 


The Dingo Fence: 

Extracted from wikipedia:

The Dingo Fence or Dog Fence was built in Australia during the 1880s and finished in 1885. 

The purpose was to keep dingoes out of the relatively fertile south-east part of the continent (where they had largely been exterminated) and protect the sheep flocks of southern Queensland. 

It is one of the longest structures in the world. It stretches 5,614 kilometres (3,488 mi)[1] from Jimbour on the Darling Downs near Dalby through thousands of kilometres of arid land ending west of Eyre peninsula on cliffs of the Nullarbor Plain above the Great Australian Bight near Nundroo. 

It has been partly successful, though dingoes can still be found in parts of the southern states. 

Although the fence has helped reduce losses of sheep to predators, this has been countered by holes in fences found in the 1990s through which dingo offspring have passed, 

Although the fence has helped reduce the loss of sheep to predators, the exclusion of dingoes has allowed for increased pasture competition from rabbits, kangaroos and emus. Sheep are being lost to increasing numbers of feral dogs. 

In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, the dingo fence was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as an iconic "innovation and invention". 

Sheep and cattle stations in Australia protected by the fence are astoundingly large. While varying in size, some stations can be larger than small countries. One station alone in South Australia lost over 11,000 sheep in a year due to dingo attacks before the completion of the fence. As recently as 1991, one station lost 3000 sheep in a year. Sheep farmers fought back by using poisoning, shooting, and eventually constructing the longest fence in the world. Aerial poison bait drops are still used today. 



Dingo Fence, 1938 

Dingo Barrier fence sign, near Bell, Queensland, Australia. Sign on gate for stock adjacent to cattle grid. 
 By the way, a penalty unit is a monetary unit that is imposed for offences. Rather than continually increase specific penalties in various pieces of legislation, such Acts these days impose penalties by numbers of penalty units. Then all that has to be done from time to time is to increase the value of the penalty unit. It is currently $110 in NSW. 

Dingo hunters with scalps, 1954 

CSIRO experimental officer weighs a dingo in Alice Springs - 1967. 

Erecting dingo fence, Western Queensland in 1960s 


The Rabbit Proof Fence: 

Extracted from wikipedia 

The State Barrier Fence of Western Australia was formerly known as the Rabbit Proof Fence, the State Vermin Fence, and the Emu Fence. 

It was constructed between 1901 and 1907 to keep rabbits and other agricultural pests, from the east, out of Western Australian pastoral areas. 

There are three fences in Western Australia: 
- the original No. 1 Fence crosses the state from north to south, 
- No. 2 Fence is smaller and further west, and 
- No. 3 Fence is smaller still and runs east–west. 

When completed in 1907, the rabbit-proof fence (including all three fences) stretched 2,023 miles (3,256 km). 

When it was completed in 1907, the 1,139-mile (1,833 km) No. 1 Fence was the longest unbroken fence in the world. 

Rabbits were introduced to Australia by the First Fleet in 1788, but they became a problem after October 1859, when Thomas Austin released 24 wild rabbits from England for hunting purposes, believing the introduction of a few rabbits could do little harm and might provide a touch of home, in addition to a spot of hunting." The rabbits proved to be extremely prolific, and spread rapidly across the southern parts of the country. Australia had ideal conditions for an explosion in the rabbit population, including the fact that they had virtually no local predators. By 1887, losses from rabbit damage compelled the New South Wales Government to offer a £25,000 reward for "any method of success not previously known in the Colony for the effectual extermination of rabbits". A Royal Commission was held in 1901 to investigate the situation. 

Following the introduction of myxomatosis to control rabbits in the 1950s, the importance of the rabbit-proof fence diminished. 

In 1929, Arthur Upfield, an Australian writer who had previously worked on the construction of No. 1 Fence, began writing a fictional story which involved a way of disposing of a body in the desert. Before the book was published, stockman Snowy Rowles, an acquaintance of the writer's, carried out at least two murders and disposed of the bodies using the method described in the book. The trial which followed in 1932 was one of the most sensational in the history of Western Australia. A book was published about the incident called Murder on the Rabbit Proof Fence: The Strange Case of Arthur Upfield and Snowy Rowles. The incident is now referred to as the Murchison Murders. 

Doris Pilkington Garimara's book, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence (1996), describes the use of the fence in the 1930s by three Indigenous Australian girls to guide their route back home to Jigalong. The girls, taken from their parents in Western Australia as part of the Stolen Generations, escaped from the Moore River Native Settlement where they were being held and walked back to their family at Jigalong by following the rabbit-proof fence. The dramatic film Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) is based on the book. 


The poster for the film

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