Source: The Mercury, 11 March, 2001, p.4


A Tasmanian pest since 1827

 
THE grey rabbit was
recognised as a pest in
Tasmania in 1827.
	In that year the
Colonial Times warned
"the common rabbit is
becoming so numerous in
the colony, they are
running about on some
large estates in
thousands".
	The spread of rabbits
on the mainland also has
a Tasmanian link.
	Thomas Austin
released  two dozen
rabbits, imported from
Britain, on his property
near Geelong in 1859. 
	Thomas and his
brother James had
previously run the Derwent
ferry and built an inn at
Rosemouth south of
Hobart in 1846.
	They left for Victoria
when the Government
refused their request fur
more land.
	Spreading at 100km a
year, by 1900 the rabbits
had reached Queensland 
and the South-West of
Western Australia.
	Since then rabbits have
defied all efforts to 
eradicate them.
	The South American
rabbit virus, myxomatosis,
was released nationally in
1951. In two years it
reduced the rabbit
population from 600
million to 100 million.
	But many rabbits
evolved a genetic
resistance and
populations
quickly recovered.


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