Over recent years a number of paddocks adjacent to where our house is situate have been subdivided to create a new medium density residential area.
As a result, the occasional fox, kangaroo, echidna and rabbits have traversed our block en route to pastures new. From time to time the rabbits decide to stay for a day or two before deciding that our place is unsuitable for permanent settlement. Luckily for us they are discerning little dears.
Over the last week or so my attempt to photograph this current transient bunch has been a dismal failure without one single image being suitable for retention.
Now rabbits are not native to Australia and have been in plague proportions for many, many years.
Currently, biological erradication methods are being successful and the traditional shooting and trapping of days gone by are exactly that.
Seeking more information about the origin of bunnies in Australia I turned to Dr Google and Wikipedia.
I learned a lot in a short time. In brief, between 1857 and 1858, numbers of breeding rabbit pairs along with hares, pigeons and sparrows were imported into Australia from Great Britain.
Then, in 1859 a bloke named Thomas Austin imported 24 wild rabbits and released them in South Australia to shoot for sport.
In just ten years, by 1869, rabbits were in plague proportions. So prolific were their numbers it was estimated over 2 million a year were being shot or trapped without making a dent in their populatiion.
Fast forward to the early 1940’s and as a lad living in the country, rabbit shooting was a weekend passtime. Browning .22 rifles were all the go and almost every kid in my school knew how to use one. If it wasn’t shooting, it was going after the bunnies with your pet ferret or setting rabbit traps in the hope of getting one or two for the pot.
About twenty years ago I remember talking to my father in law about the ‘good old days’ and how much fun I used to have going rabbiting. To my surprise he hunted around in his shed, turned up a rabbit trap and presented it to me with a laugh and a great grin on his face. Rabbiting he said, had been a lot of fun for him too.
Yesterday, it was my turn to hunt around the shed looking for that rabbit trap. Sure enough, there it was, hanging just where I’d left it, unused for years.
Back to Dr Google who advised that rabbit traps were manufactured in Australia during the 1930’s when trapping was the major method of rabbit control.
Then came the bombshell, in an article written by a Kate Dowler in the South Australian Weekly Times it was noted that on the 28th July, 2014, a ‘Platypus Regd’ rabbit trap sold at auction for, wait for it, $9,000.00 dollars. This is not a typo.
I broke all records going back to the shed and sure enough, there stamped in my trap’s cocking mechanism are the words, PLATYPUS REGD.
This time my photographny was a success:
Apparently, having the original chain and steel pin intact add to the trap’s value.
SWMBO is as excited as I over our latest piece of family history. Hanging in the shed is no place for our valuable artifact and it now occupies a special place amongst our family memorabilia collection.
Is it for sale? Not on your Nellie.
Hoo roo for now.