Langwill Rabbit Fumigator, traps and selling Akubra Hats

Interviewee: Noel Ridley, Uncle Stan Grant AM
Location: Wyalong
Theme: Pests

The Australian rabbit problem began in Victoria in 1859 when Thomas Austin of Barwon Park, Winchelsea, imported 24 wild European rabbits for hunting. Within 50 years they had bred to plague proportions and hopped across Australia eating valuable pasture. Numerous control methods were tried, patented and invented including bounty hunting, trapping, shooting, digging out, digging in, explosives, dog drives, erecting rabbit proof fencing and laying poison bates which had disastrous effects on wildlife. After 1918 there was enthusiasm for rabbit gassing or fumigating illustrated with Wyalong's horse-drawn rabbit fumigator made by Langwill Bros & Davies of South Melbourne. Trapping was a profitable occupation. In the 1920s rabbit skins exceeded wool exports while during the Depression rabbit meat was called 'underground mutton'. When Benjamin Dunkerley began making his Akubra hats in Sydney in the early 1900s, every man wore a hat. Hear from Wiradjuri elder, Uncle Stan Grant AM 'Stan the Hat Man', who used to sell Akubra hats.

Stage 5 Education Resource: Langwill Rabbit Fumigator, Traps and Selling Akubra Hats - Wyalong (PDF, 253.8 KB)

Museum: Wyalong Museum