Talking rabbits at Barwon Park

John Matthews and Tarnya Cox with Thomas and Elizabeth Austin outside Barwon Park.
John Matthews and Tarnya Cox with Thomas and Elizabeth Austin outside Barwon Park.

The spread of wild rabbits in Australia is generally attributed to the release of 24 rabbits by Thomas Austin to his Victorian property, Barwon Park, for hunting in 1859.

On Friday 7 August, RHD Boost rabbit researcher Tarnya Cox (IA CRC and NSW DPI) and Victorian biosecurity officer John Matthews visited Barwon Park to present at a Rabbit Information Session put together by the Surf Coast Shire.  The day consisted of presentations in the morning, followed by a workshop on rabbit management in the afternoon.  84 people attended the morning session and 16 came for the afternoon. 

There was some very good discussion on how communities can prepare for and support the upcoming release of K5, with all people in the room highly motivated to get their neighbours and surrounding communities on board. 

The day was hosted by ‘Thomas and Elizabeth Austin’, and rabbit pie was on the menu for lunch (YUM!).  “Barwon Park Mansion is a beautiful old building, and the perfect venue for a discussion on rabbits”, Taryna said. “But I just had to give Thomas a bit of “what for” for releasing rabbits in the first place!”


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