Back to top

Australian Thomas Austin hosts his first rabbit hunt with twenty-five wild rabbits imported from England

Australia, 1857, zoomable map
Thomas Austin stocked his land near Geelong in South Australia with partridge, hare, and wild rabbits, all imported from England.  A hunting party on Christmas Day 1859 inaugurated his new preserves at Barwon Park.  The rabbit had no natural predator in Australia, unfortunately.  Just eight years later, Austin's parties were killing 14,000 rabbits in a single hunt and rabbits were beginning a century-long continental agricultural crisis.  (By John Osborne)
Source Citation: 
Bill Fawcett, Brian Thomsen, You Did What?: Mad Plans and Great Historical Disasters (New York: Harper Collins, 2004), 92-93.