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HISTORY OF THE

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CHECKING THE RABBITS - EXAMINATION OF THE FENCE LINE INTERVIEW WITH SURVEYOR CANNING - An Interesting Report APPENDIX II. After discussion it was agreed that the fence line should run east of Ravensthorpe Hills.

Advance of Rabbits

With an emphasis on fence construction, White was mainly concerned with overseeing fence contracts and inspecting the fence line south of Burracoppin - preparatory to other building tenders being called. Under White's supervision, the three sub-inspectors were mainly engaged in searching for water supplies and favorable areas for wells, etc., along the fence line.

Progress of the Fence

The bulk of the iron materials and other props for the fence were railed to Burracoppin and delivered there to the contractors. North of the Goldfield Railway Line, work is now underway to establish permanent water supplies along the fence line to this point.

Survey of No. 2 Fence

The provisions of this Act more realistically met the needs of the rabbit problems of the day than the earlier "Destruction of Rabbits Act, 1883" and "Destruction of Rabbits Amendment Act, 1885", which were repealed at the same time. . The ever-increasing reports of the rabbit's advance into various parts of the farmlands, the established fact that the rabbits were becoming increasingly thick along the western part of the rabbit-proof fence, eventually led Parliament to approve the construction of a second rabbit-proof fence.

Unsatisfactory Supervision of Fence Construction

Specifications for Fencing by Contract

Public Works Department Responsible for Fence Construction

Eastern (No. 1) Rabbit Proof Fence (PWD Supervision)

Inner (No. 2) Rabbit Proof Fence

Fence Reserves

No. 3 Rabbit Proof Fence Surveys

No. 3 Rabbit Proof Fence Construction

Mileages of the Three Fences and their Division for Maintenance Purposes

Early Maintenance on the Three Fences

Gascoyne Vermin Board : Private Rabbit Proof Fence

As the fence sections were completed and handed over to the Department, more serious problems quickly became apparent; problems that are said to have continued over the years, some of which still exist to varying degrees. A brief comment on each of the given headings may indicate the actual nature of the problems you are facing:-. Gates have proven to be a major weakness in fencing systems, as the vast majority of people who use them – the traveling public, local residents who find it annoying to close gates, and so on – leave them open.

In the early days, when literally hundreds of rabbits were coming up against the fences, especially fence no. 2, they returned to neighboring farm properties located east of the fences. To relieve the pressure, it was found that these settlers often removed the netting from the ground and thus enabled the rabbits to move westward through the fence. When, on rare occasions, the aforementioned persons (or any other type of person) were caught in the early days along the fences and legal action was taken.

The Great War – 1914-1918

Initially, the fences only had one barbed wire above the netting. Landowners, if they ran cattle and used the fence as a boundary, were allowed to pull an extra barbed wire below the standard. Dingo depredations of sheep also increased on properties to the west and it was alleged that the animals were coming across no.

The Chief Inspector promptly recommended that two additional barbed wire be installed above the net at No.

Select Committee of The Legislative Assembly

The addition of these wires was to prevent the penetration of foxes into the interior areas. So we have, firstly - fence systems suffering from lack of men and materials for a period of years; secondly, the rabbits are placed in millions and many men are constantly employed by the Rabbit Department in poisoning operations. Now let's take a look at some "Annual Votes" for the Rabbit Department over a period of several years:-.

So we have from the committee's report the following:- "The reduced votes were made in light of the Superintendent's constant calls for more money...". This situation would continue for many years and encompassed all activities of the Rabbit Department.

Miscellaneous Fence Factors

Abandonment of Northern End of No. 1 Fence: 493 Miles

Mechanisation – A Beginning

Advent of the Agriculture Protection Board

Further Fence Maintenance

In late 1951, the suggestion was put to the Emu and Grasshopper Advisory Committee for consideration to build an emu-resistant fence between Nos. East and West. fences etc maintained by landowners from the heavy invasion of emus from the northern pastoral areas in dry spells to the agricultural lands of the south. The committee recommended installing such an emu fence and submitted the matter to the Council for the Protection of Agriculture for consideration.

The result was that with the construction of an emu fence from about 138 mile peg (No. 2 fence) north of Cunderdin, to generally go east to the 80 mile peg at No. It was decided to dispose of the fence from Nyabing ( 148 mile peg) to Cunderdin and north to the 138 mile peg where Emu Fence would join it. The cost basis for the neighboring farmers was £120 per mile, as the fence was considered a house fence and not a vermin fence.

Construction of the Fence

It has been argued that the fences have accentuated the problem by allowing emus to accumulate along them and then work south towards the agricultural areas. At the same time it was realized that due to high intensity development of agriculture along many of the no. Messrs. Gaujers and Radzobs were the successful tenderers for the construction of the last 64 miles 70 chains of fences east of Lake Moore.

The emu fence crossed Remlap Station and when completed cut off two vital watering points from the station paddocks. The necessary materials, pipes, tanks, etc., cost £579; the owner agrees to carry out the laying of the water pipes and the erection of the additional tanks, etc. The length of the Lake Moore Emu Fence is 120 miles 30 chains long, and runs west from 80 miles the stick, north of Burracoppin, to join the no.

Specifications of the Fence

Introduction

Specifications

In 1956 Mr. Porter, as a member of the Agricultural Protection Board, proposed that an emu fence be built north of the no. The aim was to prevent emus from migrating westwards from the pastoral areas, which are along the no. The Protection Council travels. referred the proposal to the Emu and Grasshopper Advisory Committee, which in turn investigated the matter.

The result of the inquiries by the Emu and Grasshopper Advisory Committee resulted in a plan. The farmers concerned had to strengthen their boundary fences adjacent to the Murchison River, which runs westward, and eventually turns southward to comply with the No. The repayment period is 20 years, with annual repayments amounting to around £300, rating the properties at around 3½d in £ on the UCV.

Construction and Costs

The Conservation Board agreed to fund the cost of an emu fence on a 50/50 basis, with the eight landowners involved. In September 1955, the Emu and Grasshopper Advisory Committee wrote to the Conservation Board, advising a suggestion that had come from the then Westonia and Yilgarn Road Boards. The fence will extend east from the pin for about 64 miles, north of Burracoppin, running generally east, then continuing south past Ghooli Pumping Station, crossing Marvel Loch and rejoining No.

In the end, the Board of Protection decided to build a vermin fence and not an emu fence, because there were feral dogs roaming the northern areas. However, the Agriculture Protection Board insisted that the now Shires of Westonia and Yilgarn share some of the costs. At that point it should be rated as an effective pest fencing as in the meantime many pests south of the Yilgarn Fence could be contained and time would be needed to minimize this.

Original Surveys and Costs

The suggestion was to build an emu-proof fence to protect the agricultural interests of these districts. The gate runs east from about 64 miles north of Burracoppin, runs generally east, then turns south near Ghooli Pumping Station, past Marvel Loch and rejoins Gate No. 1 at about 65 miles, Burracoppin, in a southerly direction. In support of this idea, the estimated loss to settlers from the ravages of emus was given: Westonia.

The estimated cost presented with the proposal of erecting the proposed fence of about 170 miles long was that the fence would be similar in construction to the Lake Moore Emu Fence. Also, it was decided that fence no. 1, for 64 miles north and 65 miles south of Burracoppin, to be left where it stood for five years. At this time it would come up for evaluation as an effective pest fence, because in the meantime, many pests could be closed south of the Yilgarn fence and it would take time to reduce it to a minimum. i) Survey costs.

Clearing

Construction

Rail Crossings

Supervision

Statistics and Cost of Yilgarn Fence

Discontinued Maintenance of No. 2 Fence (Nyabing South to the Coast)

Discontinuing Maintenance of

Estimated Costs of Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation of the Fences

Specification Modifications

Miscellaneous Projects i) Contracts

Motor Traffic Passes – Protection Board Policy

Experimental Emu Trap: 53 Mile Peg No. 3 Fence

What Fences Remain?

Influence of the Original Three Fences on the Rabbit Problem

There will largely be problems with the water in the northern part. We had some difficulty doing the survey, as water had to be found, and as the weather was very dry, many of the rock holes had dried up. From there up to the stock route for about 47 miles there is no surface water, but I do not think that even there it would be difficult to get supplies.

Throughout the northern journey we found a very fair supply of timber for fencing purposes, especially for the last 230 miles, where there is abundant timber quite close to the line. I saw no rabbits at all on the journey, and on the northern road I don't think there are any near the line. The transportation of the material for the fence will be quite difficult, because the nearest railway station to the line is 60 miles.

THE RABBIT INVASION”

MATERIALS USED

Wooden posts and sieves not included in bill of materials as supplied by contractors as part of a contract). NOTE: The cost of the "Survey" and "Clearing" of the 90½ miles of the original, but later abandoned, fence are not included in these totals. Investigation of realigned 90½ miles began in February 1963; completed June 1963; Surveyor Pownall of Lands and Surveys.

CONTINUED)

References

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