Film by Tony Nott and Jane Downing, featuring Glenn Lukins and Jim Star at Granya.
Project Director: Malcolm McKinnon.
Project Coordinator: Karlie Hawking.
Produced in partnership with Granya Pioneer Museum.
Archival film material reproduced with kind permission of Film World Pty Ltd.
Archival still images reproduced with kind permission of Albury Regional Museum, Granya Pioneer Museum, and Darryl Walsgott.
This video was created as part of the Murray Arts “Stories of the Upper Murray” project, with assistance from the Commonwealth Government’s Regional Arts Fund, Regional Arts Victoria, National Museum of Australia, City of Wodonga, Shire of Towong, and Museums Australia (Victoria).
Contact Murray Arts.Copyright
Murray Collections Network, and the artists.
”Rabbit, it was better than chicken.” Jim Star, Granya Farmer, 2005.
Rabbits were first introduced to Victoria in 1859, not for food, but for sport. How plentiful rabbits would become and the impact they would have on Australian families, could not be anticipated.
The onset of the depression in the 1920’s saw rabbits become a lifeblood for many families, for food as well as an income from the pelts.
Another Culture Victoria video examining the impact of rabbits is: The Arumpo Station region, then and now.
[FILM STRIP HUMMING] -Rabbits these days are nowhere near the problem they used to be.
-Back in '32, they were crawling up that hill out there just like ants. Honestly, if you had only seen it.
MAN 1: Rabbits were pretty rampant. So there was all these ideas of how to get rid of them and poisoning, trapping, shooting.
For many years, nobody knew what this was. And my grandmother-- great-grandmother, Helen, there was a picture of her holding one of these. And we thought it was a gun. And then, one day, a fellow came to the museum, saw the photo, and said, oh, I've got one of those over in the shed. He said, I'll bring it over. So he brought it over and we found out what it was.
Made by WH Hines in Sydney and Melbourne, "Nox All Pollard Distributor." Pollard was put into the tube here and it was mixed with sulfur, which then became a poison and dug a trench, not very deep. And in the end of the Pollard distributor was a valve which let the mixture come out of the bottom. So you push the lever down like that and you pushed it along in the trench. And once that was filled, you then covered it up. And along came the rabbits and they ate that and that eradicated them.
My great-grandmother was brought into rabbiting because rabbiting and catching rabbits was also a source of income. They used to sell the pelts. I know they made felt out of them. They also that they make Akubra hats out of rabbit pelt.
MAN 2: Oh, we lived on damn rabbits, don't talk about it. Well, rabbits were a part of our life. That's-- that's a fact. In my young days, they were. We-- we never had any money. Money was nothing. You hardly had anything. And if not for the rabbits, we wouldn't have had a cent. They kept families alive-- in this world as a society.
[FILM STRIP HUMMING]