Pleuro pneumonia killed an estimated 1.5 million cattle nationally after it was imported into Victoria in October 1858 and reached the Gulf of Carpentaria by 1864. In “Clearing a Continent”, an extensive review of the eradication program, WS Smith is reported as believing the disease had entered South Australia in 1863 via Wellington which was the only crossing place for cattle from Victoria.(Newton LG & Norris R, Clearing a Continent:, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000) Inoculation was available from the mid 1870’s but there was no compulsion to use it or report the disease. The Stock Diseases Act of 1888 gave the Chief Inspector power to act. In the early 1900’s any dairy cattle showing signs were slaughtered and the rest of the herd vaccinated and quarantined. However, beef cattle being fattened in close proximity to dairy cattle in irrigated areas were an ongoing problem. Proclamations prohibited beef cattle in these areas in 1924, and then, in 1932, movement of cattle south of a line through Quorn imposed significant restrictions. Very few subsequent outbreaks occurred in the south, the last being in 1952. After a number of breakdowns and political pressure it was agreed to attempt to eradicate the disease from Australia. The Cattle Compensation Act allowed suspect cattle to be destroyed and action taken to eliminate any outbreaks. The disease virtually disappeared from South Australia in the 1940’s. Occasional outbreaks occurred in South Australia up to 1952 but it was not until 1973 that Australia was finally declared free of the disease.
Photo No.: 103726 Title: Closing the cattle yard gate behind stock ready for inspection. Date: 13 Nov 1970