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.
6 thoughts on “RABBITS, RABBIT TRAPS AND MONEY.”
Hi there Bones.
On the other side of the planet I have an almost identical trap that I found in a hedge on my father in laws farm some years back….. it’s hanging up on the wall in my workshop! I don’t think it has any makers/traders stamp on it though. It would be interesting to know if your trap was made in Australia or imported, possibly from GB.
What a great coincidence. Fortunately my Platypus Regd was made somewhere in South Australia in the 1930’s. I’m trying to get a fix on the exact location and have asked a few trap collectors for the information but it’s like trying to gain entry to a secret society. I’ll keep trying and let you know how I go. Many of the traps used here did come from the UK and some of them bring big money too.
You know. I remember packing one of these things a few months ago when relocating my mum.
I might have a rummage and see if i can find it.
Thanks for the heads up.
It would be great if you find it and discover it is a Platypus. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.
I gave mum a call and sadly it’s not a platypus. It’s an S.Griffith *** IXL
Pretty cool having a bit of history that’s also worth something 🙂 I used to have a superb rabbit skin hat from Swan Hill. Lost the damn thing on a Sydney train when I fell asleep, almost missed my station and jumped off the train without checking my belongings. Damn it! That was the best hat I ever owned. Thanks for the post. Good read 🙂
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