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Joan McDonald

Rabbits in Australia

Joan McDonald

Rabbits past and present

Photograph of a lady at Bathurst NSW in the 1920s with a gun in her right hand and holding a dead rabbit in her left
Violet Abberton rabbiting at Bathurst NSW, 1920s. Courtesy Joan McDonald

Joan McDonald contributed two photographs of her aunt, Violet Abberton, to the National Museum’s 1992 ‘Grey Invasion’ research project. This project invited people to share their stories and experiences of rabbits. In the photographs, Joan’s aunt Violet demonstrates two commonly-used methods for dealing with rabbits in rural areas – shooting and warren destruction. Joan’s letter reveals how, 70 years on, having migrated into urban landscapes, rabbits continue to present a challenge to land (and garden) owners. She wrote:  

I have enclosed two photos of my aunt, taken near Bathurst NSW in the 1920s.

[I]t seems that the ‘grey invasion’ may not yet be over. My husband and I are building a retirement home at Sanctuary Point NSW where our neighbours-to-be tell us amazing stories about their war against the local rabbits, who are currently undermining their houses and destroying their garden plants. Shoalhaven City Council, they claim, have recently lost a whole planting of shrubs along the waterfront at nearby Vincentia, on Jervis Bay,
due to rabbits and are planning to eradicate them by means of toxic gases.

 

Photograph of a lady using a pick to dig out a rabbit burrow with another lady standing behind
Digging out burrows near Bathurst, NSW, 1920s. Courtesy Joan McDonald.

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