b'The Futile Attempt to rid northwestVictoria of Dingoes and RabbitsOfficially it was called The Mallee proposed that a fence be erected opening attended by governmentFence, but to anyone who lives in between the blocks and the allot- representatives, nor any claims of itsnorthwest Victoria, it has only ever ments by the Government and interest efficacy. Within five years of the fencebeen called The Netting Fence or The on the expense charged to landhold- being built, lessees of the largerVermin Proof Fence. With a length of ers at a rate of 6%. After initial apathy blocks were subdividing their land,204 miles, (328 kilometres), when and disparagement from the govern- with or without government approval,constructed it was the worlds and selling the land to hopefullongest netting fence.wheat farmers. Smaller land-The Victorian Parliament passed holdings meant more roads andThe Mallee Pastoral Leases Act in tracks and the Vermin Proof Fence1883 to open Crown Land in the became largely ineffective.At onenorthwest of Victoria partially or time the fence crossed more thanfully covered with the Mallee plant. 80 public roads and an unknownWith some 11.5 million acres, number of farm entrances. Otherroughly 20% of the colony, sub- concerns included gates being leftdivision was a huge undertaking. open, Mallee scrub growing backThe area was divided into two after clearing along the fence line,regions, large blocks to the north of sand drift and the nettingthe 36th parallel and allotments becoming rusty and brittle. In 1959with a maximum size of 20,000 the government ceased all supportacres to the south. Blocks were not to ment of the day, Lascelles was able and the fence was abandoned. be subdivided, while allotments could to have the fence approved and it The Netting Fence Road/Track runsbe subdivided into smaller farms. was erected in 1885/1886 at a cost of from the Rainbow Nhill Road nearMany family groups who had earlier almost 14,000. The South Australian Lake Hindmarsh through to thefled persecution in Germany and government advocated a second Murrayville Nhill Road and in partsPrussia, after settling in the Barossa fence along the border from the can be a challenging sand track. Region of South Australia, migrated Murray River to the boundary of the Jo Ussingacross the border to the southern Mallee country south of Bordertown. WestprintMallee country and remain to this day.The cost was divided equally betweenEdward Lascelles leased large blocks the Victorian and South Australianof land in the Mallee and was the governments and the Border Fenceprime instigator for a vermin proof was erected between 1887-1889. fence. He had fenced large areas of There are few references to The Sources include Trove, John Deckerts noteshis own land and was able to control Mallee Fence in the press of the time. and an article by John Pickard in thedingoes and rabbits. Lascelles No announcements of an official Victorian Historical Journal, June 2019. TRACKWATCH SEPTEMBER 2020 13'