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Those Wild Rabbits

How they shaped Australia

Bruce Munday

Those Wild Rabbits
A century ago Australia was home to 10 billion rabbits, thriving in their adopted home. Storyteller Bruce Munday finds the rabbit saga irresistible - the naive hopes of the early settlers, the frustration, environmental damage, cost to agriculture, dreams shattered, and the lessons learned and ignored.

Those Wild Rabbits highlights not only the damage done but also Australia's missed opportunities for real rabbit control. It recognises the bush's paradoxical love affair with an animal that was at one time a significant rural industry and is still recalled with nostalgia. More importantly, it offers hope for a brighter future, making the case for continued research to drive the next rabbit-control miracle, because rabbit plagues of the past will become the future unless we capture the history and embrace the lessons.

Shortlisted for the Mark & Evette Moran Nib Literary Award

Awarded the Keain Medal for the South Australian Historical Book of the Year, 2017

Praise for Those Wild Rabbits:
'Munday’s droll style renders the balkanised politics of inter-colonial governments’ efforts to deal with the rabbit rampage with dry wit and often made me laugh out loud. (Rabbits do not observe colonial or state boundaries, and they were always ahead of the rabbit-proof fence before governments stopped arguing and actually constructed it.)' - Lisa Hill, ANZ Litlovers

'The impact of wild rabbits on Australia and most of its landscape has been documented before but never like this treatise by Dr Munday. His definite account is backed up with detailed research, referenced and at the same time highly readable.' - Nic Klaassen, Flinders Ranges Research

'Those Wild Rabbits is a thorough treatment of the menace the rabbit populations presented and a comprehensive history of the hardships our pioneering families faced. ... Hats off to Bruce Munday. This book has met a great need, and addressed it with the scholarship of a professional researcher. Highly recommended.' - Queensland Reviewers Collective

'Rabbits loom large in Australian folklore ... Munday's lively study gives us the reality of how it came about.' - Steven Carroll, Sydney Morning Herald

'Bruce Munday strings together fascinating titbits of information, putting the rabbit situation within the context of major events in Australia and around the world ... There are photos galore and the text, although meticulously researched, bounces along ... Bruce has seen plenty of rabbits, and he brings his experience ... to create this excellent account.' - Outback

'Bruce Munday’s work provides important scientific and historical information with coverage from early colonial days to recent times in Australia. ... The publication of Those Wild Rabbits is most timely and the book is recommended without reservation.' - John Myrtle, Honest History

'A fascinating read.' - F. J. O'Dwyer, Chronicle

'Those Wild Rabbits is a brilliantly researched and engaging read ... offers an insightful and comprehensive account of a fascinating and ongoing episode of Australian history.' - Riahn Smith, Weekly Times

'This is entertaining and informative reading at its best. ... The research and exertion placed in its formation make Bruce Munday’s work well worthy of a prime position on any book shelf. Not often does one come across such an excellent delivery on a subject specific to Australia’s foundation, 259 pages full of facts and figures and certainly great historical and cultural value.' - Carl Delprat, Compulsive Reader

'Interesting and informative and definitely worth the read.' - R.H., ARPA News

'A compelling story, thoroughly researched, highlighting the fundamental importance of collaboration between neighbours (including government) if pest plants and animals are to be controlled.' - Peter Alexander, Landcare

'Those Wild Rabbits is a pleasant and easy read, recommended both for those seeking an account of the past, and those keen to be part of solving the rabbit problem.' - Andrew Turner, Historical Records of Australian Science

Bruce Munday arrived in Australia just downstream from where Thomas Austin had introduced wild rabbits to the colonies 80 or so years earlier. During 42 years of farming in the Adelaide Hills, he and his wife Kristin have seen plenty of rabbits. Bruce has had a long history in Landcare, often in leadership roles, and a strong conviction that community action is the first line of environmental defence. With a PhD in physics and 20 years as communications consultant in agriculture and natural resource management, he has a keen understanding of the nexus between scientific research, government policy and community action. Telling Australia's rabbit saga proved irresistible, particularly capturing recollections of old-timers who were so much a part of the tale.

Listen to Bruce Munday on The Adelaide Podcast

Also available

Format Paperback
Size 234 x 156 mm
ISBN 9781743054574
Extent 296 pages
Price: AU$39.95 including GST
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