Vermin

While cattle are not limited in their range by dingoes, vermin fences developed throughout the settled areas with the single dog fence across northern South Australia being resolved in the 1930’s. The eradication of dogs south of this fence resulted in the dominance of sheep in the southern areas although significant numbers of cattle have remained across the State. The history of the Dog Fence is detailed in Leith Yelland’s book “Holding the Line:”(Yelland Leith, Holding the line:, Primary Industries and Res. South Australia, Adelaide, (2001))

Rabbit burrows near the dog fence on Parakylia
Photo No.: 109218 Title: Rabbit burrows near the dog fence on Parakylia. Date: Jun 2009

Rabbits decimated the country in the 1870’s resulting in a decline in cattle numbers. It was not until the 1950’s that myxamatosis became effective, then 1080 poison and in the 1980’s calicivirus. The first half of the 19th century saw the depression, war and a
 
Section of the dog fence at Wilpoorinna
Photo No.: 109264 Title: Section of the dog fence at Wilpoorinna. Date: 2003

A section of the dog fence at Millers Creek
Photo No.: 109216 Title: A section of the dog fence at Millers Creek. Date: Jun 2007

number of serious droughts particularly in the northern pastoral areas. At one point the Pastoral Board indicated that 15 stations (sheep and/or cattle) had no permanent carrying capacity.  Financiers demanding repayment of loans and insisting on restocking too soon after drought caused some overstocking. The period between the great depression and the poor season in 1929-30 saw cattle and dairy numbers decline by more than half in the previous seven years.