Return to the City of Greater Geraldton home page

Snapshot - Rabbits WWII

Published on Tuesday, 12 January 2021 at 4:47:27 PM

Rabbits WWII by Neville Thompson

Rabbits have long been a pest in Australia's agricultural areas, their numbers varying from plague status to "under control", depending on the success or otherwise of eradication programmes from poisons to more modern virus strains.
Geraldton was a late starter in industry moves to profit from the rabbit plague, belatedly adopting a catch, process and export system which was well established in the Eastern States and southern Western Australia.
In a better late than never bid in mid 1934 25 men and their camping gear were transported in three trucks from Mt Gambier in South Australia to start trapping rabbits in the Walkaway area. Their first catch was between 400 and 500 pairs trucked into the Central Ice Works in Armstrong Street and loaded into two specially constructed freezing rooms.
When sufficient rabbits were in store, they were sent by refrigerated rail van to Fremantle for export to the UK and USA.
I can recall truckloads of rabbits coming into the ice works at the end of World War 2 with Punch Shelton managing the acceptance of the rabbits to be strung in pairs on long wooden poles suspended on cooling coils in the freezer rooms.
One of the delivery drivers was Dick Patience, recently released after Australian Army service. Dick later moved on to successful farming in the district.
The photo shows the arrival of a consignment of rabbits in a utility and trailer in the mid 1940s when it’s still a mystery whether they were being exported or consumed in an Australia looking forward to the end of wartime meat rationing.
Image courtesy of Sandra Playle, caption by Neville Thompson.
Snapshots is an initiative of the Geraldton Regional Library. For more information, or to donate a historical photo or slide to the Library, contact Heritage Services at the Geraldton Regional Library on 9956 6659 or

Rabbits WWII

P 10811

Back to All News

Our Partners

WA Library Museum of Geraldton