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'Rabbito!'

Rabbits in Australia

'Rabbito!'

Mr Hanley's rabbit notes

In July 1992, Mr Hanley of Caringbah, New South Wales, sent to the Museum the following ‘notes on rabbits in Australia’, in which he outlined rural and urban uses of rabbits:

In 1903 my wife’s grandfather was killed by a lightning strike whilst out droving leaving a wife with six children, the eldest about 15 years of age. Pensions and the like were unknown at that time so all had to contribute to the family upkeep. One of the sons used to arise early & go around the rabbit traps & remove any victims & his mother would skin them to sell & the carcasses were used for food or given away… Perhaps that is where the saying “I better go around the traps” originated.

As a school boy in the early 1930s I used to spend my school holidays with an aunt & uncle in the eastern suburbs [of Sydney]. Once or twice a week the rabbit man would walk down the street with a hessian bag on his back containing the rabbits & followed by a large percentage of the local feline population. If his call of “Rabbito” would bring out a client he would take a rabbit from his bag and skin it before his customer. I think the price was 6 d (5c) or 9 d (7c).

Mr Hanley's handwritten notes on rabbits in Australia.
Mr Hanley’s notes on rabbits. 1992. Courtesy TE Hanley.

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