Wednesday, April 6, 2011


A common pastime by the shooting fraternity in the Canberra region from the late 1800's seems to have been Hare drives. Seen as an agricultural pests feral European Hares were driven by groups of participants towards waiting shooters to be dispatched. This first clipping from 1893 shows the social nature of Hare drives. The following clippings follow through on the drives that seemed to continue in Canberra's city area into the 1930's...

Queanbeyan Age - 19 July 1893

National Library of Australia

What had been a regular local activity had crossed over from a rural endeavor to an inner city activity to prevent the destruction of new plantings. Somewhere around August 1934 'invitations' were apparently issued for a drive through the city area with ammunition supplied by the government. There were however fears that it was a 'gun licencing' trap...

Examiner - 13 August 1934

National Library of Australia

Strangely what seemed to have been a sanctioned activity for private citizens for many years was for 1934 at least extinguished. In August the Department of the interior declared the Hare drive a rumour and it was ridiculed by authorities. Offers of assistance by private citizens were formally refused....

The Canberra Times - 16 August 1934

National Library of Australia

Obviously the rangers couldn't contain the problem and the following year these inner city drives are still being reported. A drive reported in October 1935 appears sanctioned by the department of the interior and enlisted the help of leading sportsmen and probably included federal politicians...

The Argus - 17 October 1935

National Library of Australia

From reading many clippings I am always reminded of what a bloodthirsty people Canberrans were when it came to firearms and the resident fauna. (see Canberra Possum hunt). Other groups also were also keen to join the campaign notably the Queanbeyan and Federal Cormorant Destruction Association to save the garden city...

The Canberra Times - 20 August 1935

National Library of Australia

I have never heard of any calls to resume hunting pesky Hares so I can only assume that they fixed the problem and with such devotion there's no wonder why. Anyway the Hare population survived the holocaust as I saw one recently near the lower end of Tuggeranong creek...

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  1. A pest maybe, but I love to see hares in the country.

  2. Not a pest in my time Keith I think thats why I found these clippings so interesting. Can't imagine there ever being so many Hares.

  3. Hare drives in late 1800s were on betongs. 1 000 000 were killed in 1899 in Victoria alone where a bounty existed. Extinction saw hare drives conclude


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