Wild Dog Fence

The Corner Country is bound by two state borders and a very long fence. Originally built in the late 1880s as a means of controlling rabbits, the fence today is maintained as a barrier to the prevent dingoes and wild predator dogs from entering the predominantly sheep grazing lands of the Corner Country. Access to South Australia and Queensland along the public road network is only possible through gates at Cameron Corner, Wompah and Toona.

The rabbit was introduced into Australia in 1859 so that they could be hunted for sport. Within 50 years the pest had spread across almost the entire continent, with devastating implications for Australia’s indigenous flora and fauna.

The impact was felt across the far west grazing areas and measures were taken to try to stop them. A netting fence was constructed initially along the South Australian border from the Murray River to beyond Cameron Corner but later extended along the Queensland border to the east.

Within a few years landholders adjacent to the northern section of the fence were facing a new problem, predation of their flocks of sheep by dingoes. In 1919 the New South Wales government took control of the northern section of the rabbit-proof fence, and in 1921 began levying landholders for the cost of maintaining the fence.

The fence then was constructed with rabbit proof netting at the bottom, dog netting at the top. It stood about 2 metres high with the netting partially buried.

The fence today is entirely to limit the movement of wild dogs and still maintained by teams of boundary riders under the direction of a board of managers with landholders paying an annual levy to help cover the cost.

For more information visit the Sturt’s Steps shelter at Yandama, the Pastoral Shed at Milparinka as well as the post office display.

Rabbits introduced | National Museum of Australia (nma.gov.au)

For further reading: The life of a dog fence boundary rider – pdf