For a very long time the Rabbit Proof Fence has been romanticised in print, film and word of mouth without the general public actually experiencing it.
The public can easily visit its start and finish and there is a highway-side display out on the Great Eastern Highway but, the rest is off in the bush and is visited by the government bio-security staff as they manage the current infrastructure.
This project proposal is in keeping with TCWA activity on the Canning Stock Route while bringing Western Australian history to the forefront and within quality access for over-landing recreational and off-road drivers.
In February 1901 the Western Government appointed a Royal Commission to “Enquire into the Rabbit Question”. The Commission findings resulted in the construction of a barrier fence from Starvation Boat Harbour on the south coast to a location near Cape Keraudren in the north, to protect the growing agricultural areas. When completed in 1907 the No 1 Rabbit Proof Fence was the longest unbroken line of fence in the world, stretching 1,139 miles (1,845 km). It was then maintained by eight boundary riders who led a very lonely life for weeks at a time, repairing the fence where necessary. Depots were located at Burracoppin, Dromedary Hills (Camel Camp), and Jigalong for the purposes of administration, replenishment of supplies, and as a place where the patrolman could pick up stores, take time off, and spell (rest) his camels or horses.
By the year 1911, 3,000 acres had been fenced at the Dromedary Hills depot. At some stage the shacks which did duty as staff quarters were replaced by a neat and respectable stone and anthill-mortar homestead. The stone, a white medium-soft rock, was quarried from a deposit no great distance from the Fence, the blocks being squared roughly by using a tomahawk. A separate kitchen and dining room of bush timber with thatched roof was built about 50 yards from the homestead. The homestead’s iron roof now enabled catchment of rainwater in a tank instead of the dubious supply from a well or occasional surface water. In 1927 an extra room was built onto the homestead.