Save the Dingo


1950 - 1979

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Information on this page portrays a historical representation of life in Australia at the dates and places mentioned. This page may contain derogatory terms, nudity and images of deceased people that may cause sadness or distress to people including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Some accounts also depict scenes of unimaginable and intense cruelty towards the Dingo. These have been included as they represent accurate portrayals of early European persecution towards the Dingo, persecution which continues to this day.

Viewpoints do not necessarily reflect those of




Summary of Period

The start of 1950 looked very promising for sheep farmers, starting with an extreme increase in the wool price with the US stockpiling wool due to the Korean war. However, prices didn't stay high long, almost halving by the end of 1951.

Also in 1950, the CSIRO released the myxoma virus on mainland Australia, killing 99.8% of rabbits. This was the world's first attempt at biological control for mammals. Rabbits died within about 4 days of exposure, some arguing this didn't present enough time for the virus to efficiently spread. Regardless, through natural selection, over time, rabbits became resistent to the virus and today myxomatosis has little impact on colonies. Around the same time as the release of myxo, there were reports of dingoes mass-dying in the Simpson desert area, north of Lake Eyre, with myxo-like symptoms. However, "A medical authority said the disease was "probably not" myxomatosis, for the virus had been tried on many animals over a series of years and had been found only to affect rabbits".

North of Lake Eyre

Normally dry creek running south into Lake Eyre.

Lake Eyre is the lowest point in Australia, 15m below sea level. Whilst small floods are seen every 5 to 10 years, it only fills several times a century.

Image: © 123RF Stock Photo/livinontheroad


With the initial, albeit brief, success of myxomatosis, calls were made by the United Graziers' Association in 1951 to the CSIRO to develop a similar disease for dingoes. In 1952, Queensland politicians were making similar calls, to which the CSIRO replied "We can't just manufacture a disease out of thin air. A dingo disease could have disastrous results through spreading to domestic dogs and other animals". However, in 1955, a mystery disease did start killing "scores" of dingoes in the Tambo area and "graziers were hopeful that the disease might be used similar to myxomatosis to eradicate dingoes". The disease was later identified to be an introduced canine disease - distemper.

But not everyone was happy with myxo, graziers near Tamworth were blaming increased dingo attacks on sheep because rabbits had been wiped out. In Queensland, the reduction in rabbit numbers was used to justify aerial baiting to "try and counter the growing dingo menace". In August 1952, 1.5 million strychnine baits were dropped over "dingo-infested land" in the desert regions of Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and New South Wales. However, there is disquiet in the ranks, with the United Graziers Association opposing aerial dropping, stating it would be better for graziers to be given the baits to lay themselves.

Shortly after this drop, the Queensland Government legislated to build a 3,200 mile dingo proof fence to enclose Queensland's main sheep area, linking up with the NSW fence west of Hungerford. They estimate dingoes kill half a million sheep a year. However, this figure in reality would be a combined figure, of both dingoes and domestic dogs gone feral.

Despite the (initial) success on mainland Australia, myxoma had little impact on Tasmanian rabbits, prompting experiments in the use of the new 1080 poison. In 1954, word had spread to New Zealand who sent two rabbit experts to "study the use and effects" of 1080 which had "been so effective in Tasmania". The use of 1080 must have been controversial, as a news item from 1954 reports a "Smear Campaign Against" it. The use of 1080 was defended in the article, refuting "that it killed wild life". 1954 also saw Compound 1080 approved in Victoria for "destruction of rabbits... because of its extremely lethal qualities".

The first use of 1080 against dingoes appears to have been in 1954, where it "is reported to be having good results in wiping out dingoes in Western Australia".


Dingo hunter with scalps, 1954.

NAA: 11674212


Bounties were still in full swing in the 1950s, with abuse reported once again in Armidale, the Primary Producers' Union finding "it very strange that trappers were finding dingoes only in areas which paid £3 a scalp... all the dingoes seem to have left the £1 areas and have gone to the £3 areas". Bounty abuse in Armidale appears to have been ongoing since at least 1901. However, bounties don't only kill dingoes, there are at least two accounts of human deaths. On 3rd August 1954, a 17 year old boy was shot by his brother's "shooting expedition" near Singleton, NSW. The boy had been playing in the bushes and started imitating a dingo howling. Another case occurred in 1950, where an 85 year old man was found dead, believed to have accidentally shot himself whilst killing dingo pups, hitting them with his rifle. Had the man lived, and the animals not been dingoes, there is little doubt animal cruelty charges would have been instigated.

1953 saw a then controversial decision by the Royal Agricultural Society to allow Alsatian (German Shepherds) to be shown at the Royal Show. Nearly 100 Alsatians were shown with the judge, president of the New Zealand Kennel Club stating that "claims that German shepherd dogs were killers were "a lot of rot"". The Farmers and Settlers Association were furious, with a spokesperson responding there "is plenty of evidence that the Alsatian-dingo cross is a killer".

The ten year period starting in 1953 saw the Menzies-led Australian Govt allow British testing of nuclear bombs at Maralinga and Woomera, South Australia. Old newsreels show soldiers were afforded very little, if any protection, merely told to turn the backs on the explosions. It was later revealed they were deliberately exposed to radioactive fallout just to see what happened. The land was left contaminated, affecting the health of many Indigenous people and wildlife of the area. This land was also prime Dingo country with many landmarks of the area carrying his name, e.g. "Dingo Claypan", "Dingo Hill", "Dingo Flat Gate Road". Furthermore, the 1984 McClelland Royal Commission into the Nuclear Testing revealed that an Aboriginal family and camp dingoes were known to be living in a "banned" area at the time of testing and that testing proceeded with them still in the area.


Dingo pets at Maralinga

Photograph relating to British nuclear tests in Australia. Atomic test site at Maralinga - Dingo pelts - July 1955.

National Archives of Australia: A6457, P584


In 1954, Dingoes were also sent to a number of US zoos in an animal exchange program.


Despite all these efforts, "The dingo [was] still unconquered", the Herald reports in November 1954. "Of the native wild life of Australia, all except the dingo has been brought under control. Shot at, trapped, and poisoned for more than a century, the dingo not only remains unconquered, but has now become a serious national menace". It is further reported that many doggers (trappers) "claim that, next to man, the dingo in all probability is entitled to rank as the most intelligent of living creatures". There are, of course, other threats not mentioned that dingoes are subject to - snakes, drought, flood, bushfire and introduced disease and parasites - distemper, parvovirus, heartworm, etc. The dingo has an awful lot to contend with.

The 1960s and 1970s signify the start of changing attitudes - the dawning of the green movement. After nearly 200 years of environmental neglect, Australia's landscape was starting to pay the price - and heavily. The removal of native vegetation was starting to cause many problems - salinity and erosion. This led to the start of the Landcare movement.

Photo of soil erosion

A severely eroded landscape, south east Queensland.

Photo: © State of Queensland 


Even dingo attitudes are changing in the 1960s. In 1966 at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, a dingo was reported to have "savaged two small boys within a week" with zoo officials considering destroying the animal. Several hundred phone calls of support were received. This public pressure resulted in the dingo's life being spared, placed in a special enclosure. Further evidence of changing attitudes, again 1966, is a story in Australian Women's Weekly of Judy Opitz and how she befriended two wild dingoes in the Northern Territory - "One of my never-to-be-forgotten experiences". This delightful story demonstrates vilification on behalf of the males, whilst Judy stands up for the shy dingo Red Boy. The dingo behaviour depicted in this story is probably a fairly accurate portrayal - free of the media sensationalism we are used to seeing to-date.

Again 1966, San Francisco, there is a report of a dingo dying from shock. Apparently the dingo escaped from an animal dealer's lorry and "was reported seen by dozens of startled residents in wealthy suburbs south of San Francisco". The fact the dingo died from shock, without injuring anyone is typical of their nature and doesn't back up the claims of being labelled "dangerous" by the zoo in San Jose where "it" was formerly kept.


1965 sees a very interesting article in the Canberra Times - "Rare Fauna a menace". In this article, the author mentions graziers wanting to kill wombats. He points out that wombats have a limited range, that not all wombats would be a nuisance to fences and therefore there is no need to kill them all. He also mentions "an inspector of the Bathurst Pasture Protection Board said that spiny anteaters could effect seriously the economy of the wool industry", because they also dig holes under fences. However, of most interest, is this is one of the first accounts promoting the balance of nature - natural biological control - promoting the economic benefit of wedge-tailed eagles as rabbit-destroyers. He then describes a case in Colorado where coyotes were being targeted. Farmers found targeting coyotes cost them more money than leaving them be. "The gain in lambs and calves saved from coyotes was less than the loss caused by the rabbits and rats which increased alarmingly and raided crops and pastures."


Photo of an echidna

"Spiny anteaters could effect seriously the economy of the wool industry" - Inspector of Bathurst Pasture Protection Board.

Photo: Wikipedia - Fir0002/Flagstaffotos


In 1965, the dingo's persecution even extended into National Parks, with Kosciuszko Park Trust paying £2,000/yr to trappers to kill dingoes. The dingo is "the only animal not protected on the state park". The justification being that dingoes sometimes ventured outside park boundaries and killed sheep - something of which no evidence is provided. Indeed, it is quite likely domestic dogs, foxes or feral pigs were the true culprits. In this account, typifying many attitudes of the day, the author (Alan Reid) accompanies a ranger in search of dingoes - to shoot them, which they did - pups and all. He states "the only effective lure is to give its mating call... howling". Of course dingoes howl for many reasons and all times of the year, so it is hardly accurate to portray howling as a mating call. What also becomes apparent in the account, is the willingness to kill any dingoes, regardless of whether they had indeed been bothering sheep.

However, the Park's board quickly learnt that tourists expected to see dingoes in the park and battle-lines were drawn. This didn't sit well with Mr E. C. Archer, chairman of the Yass Pastures Protection Board (also a member of the Southern Tablelands Dingo Destruction Board). In a blatant disregard of the rights of others and of Park boundary lines he stated they would "try to get in there and get rid of the dingoes" anyway. The dispute between the Dingo Destruction Board and Kosciuscko continued for many years, with the Destruction Board lobbying hard for 1080 poisoning to be reintroduced to to the park in 1978. Landholders blamed the deaths of 10,349 sheep to dingoes. No figures are given for deaths by pigs, foxes or domestic dogs gone wild.

In December of 1969, a rather bizarre story appears of the London Zoo cross-breeding a dingo with a New Guinea singing dog.


Photo New Guinea Singing Dog

11 month old New Guinea Singing Dog

Photo: Wikipeda/Oldsingerman20


1969 also sees the Australian Meat Research Committee provide funding of nearly $70,000 to the CSIRO, this being in addition to Government funding, to "yield improved control measures". Part of the study would involve examining scent secretions in faeces and urine with a view of attracting lures. Had they read the papers of the early 1900s, they would have found something similar already done - advertisements for lures, "scientifically proven". The 1969 article further states "an aerial baiting campaign carried out near watering points... had been found to be ineffective.". Although it is not noted what poison was being used, 1080 was flavour of the day. Note that World Health Organisation guidelines from 1975 state very clearly that Compound 1080 should not be used in this fashion. It is not known what, if any, guidelines existed previously at the time of this aerial baiting.



A specific permit for each operation should be required to avoid any danger of contamination of water sources." - Sodium Fluroacetate Data Sheet - WHO


Considering this "research" was funded by a body with obvious vested interests, one would also have to question the impartiality of the research. It is clear from the newspaper account that the intended outcome is to "control", or kill dingoes. Surely it would be better to accept the dingo's place and role, looking for a way forward for both the dingo and the livestock industry. Still, this was the late 1960's and attitudes predominately still saw the dingo as Australia's Most Wanted.


In early January 1971, the first dingo in 50 years was seen at Wombeyan Caves, near Goulburn. Normally the sighting of an animal presumed extinct in an area would bring excitement. This case was no exception - unfortunately of the wrong kind. Over January 1971, a total of 3 dingoes were found - "Dingo problem worse than believed". 70 sheep deaths were attributed to the first dingo, with a total of 1000 sheep over the past four months to all 3 dingoes. Whilst they may have killed some sheep (and no proof is offered), it is highly unlikely 2 dingoes would kill 930 sheep in just 120 days. That makes for some pretty busy, and no doubt very tired, dingoes. More likely the deaths can be attributed to a combination of foxes, domestic dogs gone wild, feral pigs, natural death (for whatever reason). Still, the Pasture Protection Board seems to be predicting a plague - "District graziers will be asked to set traps to catch the new arrivals".

Exaggerated claims of dingo kills don't end there. In February 1976, a dingo nick-named "The Jaws of the Downs" is eluding trapping efforts on the Darling Downs (slightly inland from Brisbane). He is "known to have killed at least 500 sheep in ... the past three months". Once again, if we do the maths, 500 sheep over 3 months = one dingo killing 5½ sheep per night, every night. Yet another very busy, very tired dingo.

In 1975 the ABC's "A Big Country" produces a show about dingoes, "Dingo Country", interviewing those for and against the dingo. We see the usual nonsense "the only good ... dingo is a dead one" from Brian Neil - a dog fence worker, wanting the dingo made extinct. Whilst on the other side, ironically a trapper himself and from a family of trappers Bill Baldwin - "My sympathy is with the dingo. He gets blamed for something he probably doesn't do anyway. He's a clever dog.... Some people would like to see the last kangaroo and the last dingo killed. I wouldn't". His view is supported by well-known artist of the time Clifton Pugh, who illustrated the book "Dingo King". He likes dingoes - "human beings have to learn to live with them".


Kanangra Walls, Boyd Kanangra National Park.

Photo - Wikipedia/James Lamb.


The second half of the 1970s see some tide-turning events for the dingo. In June 1976, NSW under Premier Neville Wran prohibited the use of Compound 1080 in NSW National Parks, stating death by 1080 "a horrible way to die". This resulted from concern over the risk placed on native animals, specifically in the Boyd Kanangra National Park, Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Furthermore, Mr Wran required boards to obtain ministerial permission prior to baiting, requiring them to prove stock losses due to dingoes. At the same time, a research officer from National Parks and Wildlife, Mr Robert Harden, who had been studying dingoes for eight years came forward announcing he had not seen any evidence of dingoes attacking domestic stock. His research was based on tracking dingoes via radio collars, observation and analysis of dingo skats. However, he stated it was possible dingoes attacked livestock where native fauna was in short supply, as would occur with cleared farming land.

"It appears most stock losses are caused by feral dogs; that is, domestic dogs gone wild and dogs cross-bred with dingoes.

CSIRO research on pure dingoes found evidence of sheep consumption in only four percent of dingoes examined. Most the sheep flesh was found to be carrion." The Australian Women's Weekly, Wednesday 29 September, 1976.


Mr Wran's ban on Compound 1080, however, only lasted a year before being reversed, as "Supporters of the poison [claimed] native fauna runs a far higher risk of death or injury from domestic dogs gone wild, feral cats and feral pigs". This statement is also interesting, not to be underestimated, as it appears to be the first time the term "domestic dogs gone wild" has been used - clearly a separation from the Dingo. However, in a somewhat curious move, the Government removed the fox from the noxious animals list, stating, according to reports, that "the amount of harm it did was of no great economic consequence viewed alongside the destruction caused by feral animals." Furthermore, $28,000 was allocated to the Southern Tablelands Dingo Destruction Board to employ trappers.


Steel jaw dingo trap

Dingo Trap, A 'dogger' with a Dingo trap. Date unknown.

ABC T.V. Collection, Northern Territory Library


Meanwhile in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory), the battle lines continued to be drawn from 1975-1978, with suggestions by the Government that the dingo, in danger of localised extinction, should become a protected species. In February 1976, the ACT Dingo Destruction Association was calling on the ACT Government to hire trappers to kill dingoes, blaming the losses of 500 sheep in two months on dingoes. However, in discussing a newly proposed National Park, the Directory of the ACT's conservation and agriculture branch stated a need to maintain a balance between sheep and dingoes and that "dingoes were important to a stable, natural ecology of the type planned for the national park and their eradication at this stage because of immediate problems could be disastrous in the future."

Graziers in the area, however, were not happy and attempted to bypass the ACT appealing directly to the Federal Government for a trapper to be hired.


Dingo in ACT National Park

Dingo from Gudgenby Valley, ACT.

Photo: National Parks Association of the ACT/Esther Gallant.


It would appear at that same time, many believed dingoes were instrumental in control feral pigs as shortly afterwards, April 1976, Mr Jeffery, president of the ACT Dingo Destruction Association came forward "emphatically" denying dingoes control pigs. He based his claim on an increase in wild pig numbers. The article does not provide any figures or research however and the logic is quite possibly flawed by either dingoes being killed or simply unable to consume the sheer volume of feral pigs.


However, in May 1977, the Minister for the ACT announced that "in view of changing community attitudes toward the dingo he would review the legislation" and that as a result of scientific research from organisations, including the CSIRO, "much of the dingo's diet consisted of small animals, including rabbits, other vermin, insects, lizards and frogs. In areas where this food was plentiful native dogs" preferred "it to domestic livestock". In the same newspaper article, the president of the ACT Rural Lessees Associations admitted that "almost without exception domestic dogs" had been caught attacking stock. This is probably the first documented admission of domestic dogs being a large scale problem rather than the dingo.

CSIRO experimental officer weighs a dingo in Alice Springs - 1967.

National Archives of Australia: A1200, L64189


By December 1978, legislation was being prepared in the ACT to remove the dingo from the list of "noxious animals", instead declaring them as protected wildlife - the first place in Australia to do so.


The ACT and NSW were not the only states seeking to protect the Dingo. In Victoria, 1976, The Dingo Study Foundation, under Mr Les Harris began lobbying the Victorian government for protection, although not seeking Dingoes to be allowed as pets. Mr Harris cited cases where feral animals had moved in after dingoes had been removed and that some farmers were wanting dingoes back.


At the same time NSW was questioning Compound 1080, Queensland was debating the cost of the dingo fence, considering abandoning the barrier. Costs had risen to about $3.1 million per year and although not reported in the referring article, the use of 1080 was considered a cheaper alternative. According to wikipedia, "a compromise in the form of the continued use of the poison and the shortening of the fence" was made.


Photo of dingo fence being erected. 1960.

Erecting dingo fence, Western Queensland in 1960s

Photo © Robin Smith, National Library of Australia,



In 1975, it became legal to own dingoes, with an appropriate permit in Victoria. One year later, NSW followed suit where in Sydney, two dingoes were reported as passing official obedience at a Sydney dog training school, "putting trendier, more orthodox pedigrees very much in the shade". Also in 1976, the now famous Bargo dingo sanctuary on the south-western outskirts of Sydney formed. In 1978, Bruce Jacobs was selling dingoes to the public for $300 each and gave one to a guide-dog school. According to the newspaper, Bruce Jacobs had been breeding dingoes since 1966.

In 1978, the RAAF obtained a 14 month old Dingo, Leading Aircraftsmans Wellington (aka "Boots"), for evaluation as a service dog. His trainer, Sergeant Neville Kleidon received Commonwealth Government permission to "keep and train" a dingo, the first such granted in Australia. After six months in Canberra, Boots transferred to the RAAF Police Dog Training Centre at Toowoomba, QLD. The paper reports progress "entire satisfactory" and compared to the German Shepherds is "a lot faster and has much better sight, hearing and smell." Feedback from a long-term Military Working Dog handler, obtained since these newspaper items, reported that "Boots did not possess the traits and characteristics required to make the grade as a Police Dog and the breed was never again considered."

SGT Neville Kleidon and Wellington "Boots".
Supplied by the Royal Australian Air Force
Copyright © Commonwealth of Australia


End of Period Summary, 1950-1979.



Man Killed Himself Killing Pups (1950)

NEWCASTLE, Friday. Jack Cohen, 85, is believed to have shot himself accidentally while killing dingo pups with the stock of his rifle.

Searchers found him dead in rough country near Kempsey to-day. There was a gunshot wound in his chest.

Nearby were three dingo pups which looked as though they were killed with a blow from a rifle.

The hills about Kempsey had been combed for Cohen for three days.




Dingo Disease Wanted (1951)


The annual conference of the United Graziers' Association today decided to enlist the aid of the CSIRO in trying to find a disease similar to myxomatosis to spread among dingoes.




Disease Killing Dingoes (1951)

A "myxomatosis-like" disease, not yet identified, is reported to be killing hundreds of dingoes along the banks of Coopers Creek in northern Australia--much to the joy of local graziers.

Mr. Elliott Price, of Muloorina station, near Lake Eyre, said dingoes which had increased to alarming numbers over the past few months were now being found dead or half-conscious with the "mystery" disease.

Their heads were swollen to about twice their normal size and their eyes were bulging out. The symptoms were similar to those of myxomatosis in a rabbit, but no one had yet identified the disease.

A medical authority said the disease was "probably not" myxomatosis, for the virus had been tried on many animals over a series of years and bad been found only to affect rabbits.

Mr. Price does not mind what the disease is. "Anything that kills wild dogs is all right with me," he said.

He sees plenty of wild dogs, for he is boss of 133 miles of the dog- proof fence, part of which cuts across his property.

Before the disease, stockmen had taken heavy toll on dingoes along Coopers Creek, he said. One drover, Mr. Bill Gwydir, had arrived in Marree with a mob of cattle and 105 dingo scalps to collect the £1 bounty on each ofthem.

Mr. Price said the waters of the flooded Coopers Creek had started pouring into Lake Eyre last week. However, the flow was not great.

The country around the lake which had been subject to a rat plague since the lake's phenomenal filling last year was now being eaten out by grubs. There were not signs of rats or spiders now, but grass grubs were "everywhere."




The "Strange" Thing About Dingoes . . . (1952)

A member of the Primary Producers' Union, Mr. H. Stone, said yesterday he found it "very strange" that trappers were finding dingoes only in areas which paid £3 a scalp.

Mr. Stone, of Raleigh, was speaking to the annual meeting of the central executive council of the union.

The meeting was considering a motion that the price for dingo scalps should be uniform throughout the State.

Mr. Stone said the Armidale-North Coast Dingo Destruction Board paid trappers £3 a scalp for dingoes, while Pastures Protection boards paid from £1 to £1/10/ a scalp.

"Now all the dingoes seem to have left the £1 areas and have gone to the £3 areas," Mr. Stone said.

"At least, trappers are only finding dingoes in the £3 areas."

Mr. M. R. Buttsworth, of Manning, said farmers who were not in the Dingo Destruction Board area could have their lands rated by the board.

The president, Mr. R. C. Gibson, said: "It might be cheaper for farmers to stay out of the Dingo Destruction Board's area and accept the quid."

The meeting referred the motion back to the Raleigh branch of the union.




Aerial Dropping of Dingo Baits (1952)

BRISBANE, Sunday--An aeroplane to-morrow will begin dropping a million and a half poison-baits to try and counter the growing dingo menace in Queensland.

The main aim of the scheme is to check the advance of thousands of dingoes which are moving into Queensland from other States and killing lambs.

A Trans Australia Airlines Dragon aircraft will be used for the operation, which is being conducted by the Queensland Government.

The aerial bait dropping operation will extend over 25 000 square miles and will be directed at dingo breeding grounds.

The dropping of the baits will continue for three months.

The plane is scheduled to fly over dingo-infested land in north western Queensland, far western areas and also in the vicinity of Lake Eyre in South Australia.

The operation will also be extended into the Northern Territory and into the extreme northern parts of New South Wales.

A special machine in the plane will drop baits at the rate of sixty to the mile.

The bait consists of brisket fat.


The chairman of the Coordinating Board, Mr. J. Brebner said that much of the dingoes normal feed has been destroyed by myxomatosis reducing the number of rabbits.

Dingoes were moving into Queensland in increasing numbers he added.

The United Graziers Association is opposed to the drop- ping of baits from the air to combat dingo menace.

The association feels it would be better to distribute baits to individual graziers for laying on their own properties.

The State Government says it has never regarded aerial bait laying as the complete answer to the problem but considers it is the best temporary measure until large scale dingo fencing becomes a reality.




Alsatian Section Criticised (1953)

The inclusion of a class for German shepherd dogs, or Alsatians, at the Royal Show yesterday, brought criticism and a strong defence of these dogs.

German shepherd dogs had not been exhibited at the Show for about 27 years because of opposition to the breed by primary producer organisations.

Yesterday's entry totalled nearly 100 and was judged by Mr. M. K. McDermott, of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Mr. McDermott, who is president of the New Zealand Kennel Club, said he had never before handled such docile and well-behaved dogs.

"I am very particular about temperament," he said, "and to-day's exhibits, with one or two exceptions, had perfect temperaments."

Mr. McDermott said claims that German shepherd dogs were killers were "a lot of rot."

But the general secretary of the Farmers and Settlers' Association, Mr. T. J. McDougall, said yesterday he was amazed that the Royal Agricultural Society had included a section for German shepherd dogs.

These dogs, or Alsatians as they were better known, were a menace to livestock, he said.

Because the Royal Agricultural Society had a rural background he had thought that it would not do anything to encourage the breeding of Alsatians.

"There is plenty of evidence that the Alsatian-dingo cross is a killer," he said.

The secretary of the German Shepherd Dog League, Mrs. E. Porter, said yesterday it had been proved that these dogs and dingoes would not mate.




Dingo-proof Fence For 3,200 Miles (1953)

BRISBANE, Monday. The Queensland Government will legislate this session for a 3,200-mile dingo proof fence to enclose Queensland's main sheep area.

The Minister for Lands, Mr. T. A. Foley, announced after a Cabinet meeting tonight that the United Graziers' Association had approved the Government's plan.  

The fence will link up with the N.S.W. dingo-proof fence west of Hungerford, Queensland. Then it will extend to the north and swing in a wide arc almost to the Northern Territory border.

It is estimated that dingoes kill half a million sheep a year and cost the wool industry £2m a year. The annual cost of dingo bonuses is about £70,000.    




1080 Poison (1954)

The use of 1080 poison, by the Victorian Lands Department for destruction of rabbits, has been approved by the Pharmacy Board of Victoria.

Tests have shown 1080 to be more effective than any of the poisons now in common use, but because of its extremely lethal qualities it must be handled only by experts well trained in its use.

The superintendent of the Vermin and Noxious Weeds Brunch of the Lands Department (Mr. A. W. Mellroy) has outlined the action being taken to train officers in the use of 1080.
When they are trained, the branch proposes to make their services and supplies of the poison available in areas where groups of landowners are pre pared to co-operate by under taking the laying of trails and preparatory feeding.

Inspectors then will lay the baits and ensure their safe use.




Dingo Raids (1954)

TAMWORTH : Dingoes are causing concern in the Walcha district because the number of raids on sheep seems to be increasing. Some landholders blame myxomatosis, and are of the opinion that, as so many rabbits have been wiped out by the disease, the dingoes are turning more and more to killing sheep for food.




"Smear Campaign Against 1080" (1954)

HOBART. -- There was a smear campaign against the rabbit poison 1080, a member claimed, at a meeting of the Animals and Bird Protection Board here yesterday.

Some of the stories circulating about the State were only "piffle" said the member, Dr. E. R. Guiler.

Many people did not realise 1080 was not as dangerous as strychnine, he said. It took six times as much 1080 to kill a man as it did strychnine.

The poison was killing large numbers of rabbits. Because myxomatosis was largely ineffective in Tasmania, the public demanded that 1080 should be used, said Dr. Guiler.

The C.S.I.R.O. was investigating the effect of 1080 on native fauna, he said.

Mr. S. C. French said 1080 was no better or worse than other poisons. Graziers who had used it refuted the claim that it killed wild life.

Strychnine killed more birds than 1080, Mr. M. T. Stancombe said.




N.Z. interest in 1080 (1954)

TWO New Zealand rabbit experts have arrived in Tasmania to study the use and effects of the poison 1080.

THEY are Mr. I. M. Cairney, of Dunedin, and Mr. A. Forrester, of Christ-Church.

Mr. Forrester is a member of the Rabbit Destruction Council of the Dominion, and Mr. Cairney is an officer of the N.Z. Department of Agriculture.

Yesterday the two had long talks with executive officers of the Tasmanian Department of Agriculture.

In the next fortnight they will visit many areas of the state watching officers of the Agricultural Department lay the poison.

New Zealand authorities consider that 1080, which has been so effective in Tasmania, could play an important part in the Dominion's campaign to exterminate rabbits.

They say there are several areas where the introduction of a new poison could completely eliminate rabbits.




Poison 1080 (1954)

The poison known "1080" is reported to be having good results in wiping out dingoes in Western Australia.

At the Executive Sub-Committee meeting of the Graziers' Association of Central and Northern Queensland on Saturday, the Winton District Branch submitted a proposal that the U.G.A. obtain from the Agricultural Protection Board in Perth all the information possible regarding its experiments with the poison in its drive against the dingo menace.

The president (Mr. C. B. P. Bell) said the Winton Branch enclosed a coup of a newspaper clipping from Western Australia pointing out what the poison was doing in eliminating the dingo.

It was decided that the Association write to the authorities in Perth eliciting all the information, and results from the poison, so far as the dingo is concerned. 




Dingoes Die From Disease (1955)

BRISBANE, September 11 -- A mysterious dingo disease in the Tambo district has been found to be distemper. Scores of dingoes have died from the disease in the last three months.

Grazirs asked the State Stock Department to diagnose it. Graziers were hopeful that the disease might be used similar to myxomatosis to eradicate dingoes throughout the State.

Stock Department Veterinary Services Director (Mr C. R. Mulhearn) tonight said that it would be too dangerous to attempt to spread the disease because it would affect station dogs. A number of station dogs in the Tambo district had been killed by the disease.



Iron Dingo on Guard (1959)

Photo of dingo cut from sheet iron

Photo - Cliff Bottomley

National Archives of Australia: A1200, L30394


This dingo cut from sheet iron stands guard at a gateway on the railway line from Iron Knob to Whyalla, South Australia, to frighten sheep from the gateway in the fence which divides one grazing property from another.




Aboriginal men with dingoes (1963)


Aboriginal men with dogs

Aboriginal men with dingos / Douglas Lockwood.

Douglas Lockwood Collection,
Northern Territory Library.


Two aboriginal men each holding a dingo, from Jeremy Long's Aboriginal welfare journey into the Gibson desert, Pintupi country. This photo was taken in 1963 and depicts men from one of the last aboriginal tribes to encouter Europeans.




Aborigine boy with dingo. (1964/65)

Aboriginal boy and dingo

Aborigine boy with dingo. Original artwork for the cover of Treasure issue no 85.

Artwork - Eric Tansley, c.1964-1965, © Look and Learn




The Only Animal Not Protected on the State Park (1965)

Hunting the Dingo Australia's killer dog


THE dingo has a reputation from Darwin to Melbourne and from Perth to Cairns as the most wanted criminal in Australia.

Every sheep and cattle farmer in Australia knows and fears the dingo and will do anything he knows to exterminate it.

On the Kosciusko State Park the dingo is the only animal not protected by law. The park trust spends up to £2,000 a year hiring trappers to keep these killers down.

Sometimes, however, dingoes do enter the Park and, as there are no sheep or cattle allowed on the closed-off areas on the high tops, they kill on private properties bordering the park.

One of these belongs to Mervin Mansfield at Providence, on the Eucumbene River, and when dingoes from the park killed his sheep he turned to Tom Taylor, a Department of Lands ranger with the KSPT and asked for help to get rid of the dogs.

Taylor, who hunted dingoes all over the Snowy Mountains for many years before the Park was founded, is a very experienced dingo hunter. I had been invited to join him.

They had been seen and had left traces mainly around the Snow Veil, Grey Mare, Tolbar, Tabletop Mountain and Providence areas.

With an idea of where the dogs could be found and how many were in the pack, we were ready to go out and get them; we left Currango early in the morning and arrived at the crossroads at Tolbar just on sunrise.

The dingo is a pack animal and the only effective lure is to give its mating call which is not particularly difficult. The long mournful wail is known as howling.

At the junction of the Tolbar and Happy Jack's roads, on top of the ridge between the Gold Hut and Providence, we howled and listened intently down both sides of the range, but could hear nothing. Half an hour later we moved down towards McKeahnie's Creek, pausing to howl every halfmile but receiving no answer.

Sitting on the edge of the creek we thought out our next move, trying to guess which way the dogs would travel and where the best place to intercept them would be. We decided to trace the path where they had been seen and went to Snow Veil following the route we thought they would travel between there and Providence.

The day was closing fast and we knew that if we did not find them soon we would be forced to come back and start all over again next day.

Back at Tolbar we were beginning to despair but we decided to try along the Tabletop track.

After about half a mile we saw dog tracks in the dust on the side of the road. There were about three sets (with no accompanying horse prints) so we drove on to within a mile of Tabletop then walked to the Bag Hut on the eastern side of the mountain.

Only a few minutes of day light remained by the time we reached the hut and settled down to howl, and it was hard to distinguish outlines in the shadow of the mountain.

As we howled a big eagle flew out of the trees surrounding Rolling Flat below us and soared away down the gully towards Swamp Creek and Providence.

While we watched its progress down the gully a strange, mournful, almost eerie groan, like a small child crying, came up to us from somewhere in the scrub the other side of the flat.

We gauged the sound to be about a mile and a half away on the other side of Rolling Flat. Moving down the side of the hill towards the flat be low we placed each step carefully and deliberately.

An ominous silence had fallen over the bush and the moon was just starting to show over the horizon. Sitting on the side at of the hill we wailed for the moon to rise and cover the countryside with its pale light. Alter what seemed an eternity we moved off able now to see our way.

Tom motioned me to stop when we were about a quarter of a mile from the flat. He howled again. The answer came back from less than a mile off.

There was urgency now. We had to reach the flat before the dingoes did. Further down the hill towards the flat we moved, treading on tufts of grass to avoid the kindle bark and twigs underneath. About a hundred yards from the flat I trod on a piece of kindle bark and it went off like a cannon.

We both stood frozen, straining our eyes and ears for any movement on the flat but could distinguish none. At the edge of the flat we lay face down on the grass with a tree behind us so we would make no silhouette for the dogs to see.

Although the night air was cold and the grass covered with a smear of dew, I could feel beads of sweat break out from under the brim of my hat.

Tom raised himself on one arm and howled again. The answer came from all around us sending a chill up my back and blocking my throat.

Tom lifted his hand in from of my face and I saw four raised fingers silhouetted against the moonlight. The howl went up again and I eased a cartridge into the breech of my rifle.

The sound was closer now. When it stopped I could hear the dogs soft-footing through the scrub off to the left of the clearing.

For a moment I thought they were going to skirt the clearing and move on through the scrub, but suddenly a dingo appeared out of the trees slightly to the left with his nose feeling the air for any sign of danger.

I raised my rifle and sighted on the dog, but Tom motioned me not to shoot, raised his hand and once again I counted the four extended fingers; as I did so two more dogs broke out of the scrub.

I felt he was throwing away our chance of getting any of them if he waited any longer but as I queried his judgment another dingo, followed by two pups, appeared in the clearing.

As the dogs trotted towards us across the flat I could feel my stomach tighten; the blood drummed in my ears.

Then Tom fired.

There was no time to think now. The dog in my sights was already tinning as I fired. I saw it spin in the air and lie still where it landed.

I worked the bolt of my rifle and aimed at another dog as it disappeared into the scrub at the far side of the clearing. I fired, and saw it falter and limp into the bush. I fired another shot at it but missed.

Leaping up I ran to the far side of the clearing which was bordered by a deep gully going around a slight rise like a horse shoe.

I came to the edge of the gully and saw the wounded dog disappearing around the corner of the horseshoe. I fired and saw it fall.

By this time Tom had reached the other side of the horseshoe and was waiting for the dogs as they came round the corner. He fired at the bitch leading her two pups and shot her in the head. The pups wheeled and started to climb the bank on the other side of the gully. Tom and I fired simultaneously at the same dog and killed it as it climbed out of the gully.

Tom fired at the other pup as it disappeared into the under growth; I saw it twist in the air and vanish. I raced across the gully to the spot where it had been hit but all that remained was a handful of fur.

We scalped the five dogs we had shot and returned to Mervin Mansfield's where the hunt was the subject until well on into the night.




Rare fauna a menace (1965)


I used to think that the dingo was the most hated animal in Australia.

But now, when I read some of the things that are said about wombats by some graziers, I am beginning to change my mind.

Wombats, according to some graziers, are a serious menace to the grazing industry because they damage fences. As a consequence, wombats, which are marsupials and part of our unique heritage, are unprotected outside sanctuaries.

I admit that a hole in a fence is a nuisance if only because it may let in rabbits and because it has to be repaired. But even if the grazier feels that he must destroy wombats, there is no need for him to destroy all wombats on his property. The wombat has a limited territorial range, probably never going more than about a mile from its centre. Therefore, it is wanton and a waste of effort to try and destroy all wombats.

It appears, too, that graziers in the Bathurst district have another menace - the spiny anteater, which is an even more remarkable creature than the wombat. Spiny anteaters and platypuses are, of course, monotremes and the only representatives of this unique and primitive order.
Not long ago an inspector of the Bathurst Pastures Protection Board said that spiny anteaters could effect seriously the economy of the wool industry.

He said that a grazier noticed a hole under the rabbit proof fence round his boundary. The grazier repaired the hole but the next day the hole had reappeared; he set a trap - presumably on a number of occasions, for he caught five spiny anteaters. The account is reticent regarding what the grazier did with the spiny anteaters - a penalty of £50 and/or imprisonment for six months could have been brought against any one killing them.

Not all graziers take such extreme views. Some do everything they can to preserve wild life and, for instance, look tolerantly on wedge-tailed eagles, arguing that although the birds may take the odd lamb (usually a sick one), they do more good than harm in controlling rabbits.
It is possible even that graziers in some circumstances may come to tolerate dingoes.
In the Toponas district of Colorado ranchers launched a campaign to wipe out coyotes. They gave it up when they found their success was hurting their pockets. The gain; in lambs and calves saved from coyotes was less than the loss caused by the rabbits and rats which increased alarmingly and raided crops and pastures.

The coyotes had been acting as regulators, preserving the balance of nature. Predators do so because they have generally wide tastes in food and take what is most accessible.
Of course, this is an argument by analogy. We cannot say if dingoes would make a profit for some graziers until we know a lot more about the ecology of dingoes.




Antique Dingo Trap Advertisment (c.1965)

Dingo Trap Advert

Vintage newspaper advertisement for a dingo trap. Human qualities depicting the dingo as a criminal are drawn into the dingo's face, for example the angle and direction of the eyes. Such depictions are common in art, used extensively in WW1 and WW2 propaganda posters. In this case, they advertisers are trying to legitimise the killing of dingoes.

Date Unknown, c.1965-1966





Shock of Capture Too Much for Dingo (1966)

SAN FRANCISCO. Wednesday (A A P Reuter). -- An Australian dingo was apparently "scared to death" when a party of Humane Society officers captured the animal after a wild 90 minute chase, veterinarians said today.

The dingo was alive when it was placed in a van Humane Socicty shelter bill for a brief trip to the was dead on arrival.

The veterinarians said its heart apparently failed with the fright of its capture.

The dingo escaped from an animal dealer's lorry last Saturday and for the next three days was reported seen by dozens of startled residents in wealthy suburbs south of San Francisco.

The animal, which weighed about 40lb and stood about two feet high, was described as "dangerous" by a zoo in San Jose where it was formerly kept.

Humane Society officials finally tracked the dingo down in an open field and managed to get it into a cage after the chase.




Sympathy saves dingo (1966)

SYDNEY. Thursday. -- Hundreds of telephone calls from people have saved a dingo from being destroyed.

The dingo had savaged two small boys within a week, and Taronga Park officials were considering to day destroying the animal.

The honorary director of the zoo, Sir Edward Hallstrom, said the dingo would be placed in a special enclosure.




Animal rated as an enemy proved a true friend (1966)

Picture and story by JUDY OPITZ

ONE of my never-to-be-forgotten experiences of the Australian scene happened when I was acting cook to a party of crocodile shooters (which included my future husband, Tom) camped on the mangrove swamp coast- line near the mouth of the Daly River in the Northern Territory.

During the day the men were busy fishing, skinning crocodiles, or snatching five minutes' sleep, while I turned out dampers, stews, tea, and yet more tea on decidedly primitive cooking arrangements.

At night the men would all venture forth in the dinghy and head for crocodile - infested creeks further down the river, leaving me to keep the fire burning so that they would know in which direction to head for home.

On my first night alone I was extremely conscious of slithering noises in trees (python about to drop on me); squelchy sounds in the mud where the tide had gone out (croc coming to chew me up); and heavy stomping in the bush that grew thickly to the beach (buffalo getting ready to charge).

And whatever was that noise like a hundred sheep pulling at grass?

When I finally plucked up courage to unearth my head from the safety (?) of the blankets and shine the torch around, I saw the sand covered with hermit crabs, all munching away steadily at succulent grains of sand.

Wide awake until the small hours, I watched the Southern Cross turn over and the tide come creeping back over the mud before I heard the welcome chug-chug of the outboard that heralded the return of the men with the night's booty.

Next night I insisted on having a "house" of corrugated iron rigged up for me round my camp bed. The iron, which we had collected from a derelict Air Force outpost on a nearby island on our way out by launch from Darwin, would be used to make a proper shelter later.

But though the iron leaning over my bed perhaps solved the problem of being eaten by a crocodile, it didn't help sleep be- cause the hermit crabs made a Luna Park of it, laboriously crawling to the top of the sloping iron and rolling down again.

What I felt I needed was a watchdog to keep me company, and when a dingo appeared in the light of our campfire one evening I decided he would do the job nicely.

The men had other ideas for dingoes and fired a shot which made him disappear as quickly and silently as he had come.

He came again the following evening, but once more faded into the shadows when another shot was fired at him.

I pleaded for his life if he should come again and said I wanted to make him my friend for the night watches. I was snorted at derisively and told it was quite impossible to tame a wild dingo. I wasn't so sure.


The dingo came to the beach soon after sun-up next morning and stood looking at us from a hundred yards away. It was plain to me he wanted to be a friend of man but wasn't quite sure of the best way to go about it.

I took a chunk of meat from its hook on the tree and advanced slowly toward him.

The dingo, a mangy but fine- headed specimen, wavered on his feet, but I kept up a long and meaningless one-sided conversation with him in what I hope- fully imagined to be a dingo tone of voice, and he stood his ground.

When I reached him he gently took the offering of meat while I bent over and ruffled his ears. He dropped the meat quite unconcernedly and seemed far more interested in the attention he was getting.

Then suddenly his lips curled back and he jumped up.

For a fraction of a second I thought he was going for my throat, but he was only "laughing" and jumping for joy. I joined him in the game he wanted to play just like any pet dog.



Later that day, Red Boy, as I called him, brought his girl- friend along for my inspection. I called her Grey Mother, on account of her grizzled chops which made her look older than she was.

She was rather timid and would not come too near me, although Red Boy ran from one to the other of us encouragely. I didn't try to force friendship on her.

A few days later, she tired of hanging around in the background while Red Boy enjoyed the privileges of camp life and allowed me to hand-feed her.

Most of the days Red Boy and Grey Mother rested under a large shade tree, or cooled off by lying at the water's edge when the tide was in letting the waves break over them.

At night, although making occasional excursions into the bush from which they would return after an hour or two, they would curl up in the soft sand by my bed.

If, on their return from foraging, they found me asleep, they would tug the mosquito netting and snuffle at me until I was awake enough to put out an arm and pat them.

Sometimes a dingo in the distance would start its mournful yowl and Red Boy and Grey Mother would fling back their heads and answer. The sound was full of the mystery and wonderful loneliness of the bush.

I wondered if I would wind up with a pack of dingoes, but no more showed up. Perhaps Red Boy warned them away in case he lost any the favors bestowed upon him.

He was lined to be jealous and did not even like more attention to be shown to Grey Mother than to him.

When the time came to return to civilisation I wished that I could bring my two companions for the night watches with me, but, of course, that was out of the question.

I'll never forget our all-too short season of friendship, though, and the humble feeling it gives one to gain the trust of a wild animal.

JUDY OPITZ with her dingo watchdog, Red Boy, and his mate, Grey Mother, at camp near the mouth of the Daly River, N.T.


Read online:



Dispute over dingoes (1969)


There was going to be trouble over the Kosciusko National Park Trust's attitude to dingoes, the chairman of the Yass Pastures Protection Board, Mr E. C. Archer, said at yesterday's meeting of the board.

Mr Archer, who is a member of the Southern Tablelands Dingo Destruction Board, said members of the trust intended to keep dingoes in the park for tourists to see but the dingo board would try to get in there and get rid of the dingoes.




Yodelling dingoes bred by zoo (1969)


LONDON, Friday (AAP-Reuter). - London Zoo has cross-bred a rare New Guinea singing dog with an Australian dingo and come up with five sandy-coloured yodelling pups.

The newly born pups officially classified as "singing dogs cross dingo"' - make a yodelling sound like their singing dog father Troilus, given to the zoo five years ago by famous conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent.

Troilus was caged with the dingoes out of loneliness after his singing dog mate died last January.

Natives in New Guinea, where the singing dogs were discovered in 1965, believe the dogs have the spirits of departed relatives and friends.




Industry grant for dingo research (1969)


The CSIRO's dingo research programme is being extended to the highlands of eastern Australia with the help of a grant from the Australian Meat Research Committee.

A press statement from the CSIRO said yesterday that research was already under way in the Southern Tablelands of NSW and would be extended soon with the recruitment of more staff.

Climate rooms

The Australian Meat Research Committee would provide 80 per cent of the $80,000 to be spent on dingo research by the CSIRO this year. This was in addition to the sums being spent by State government departments on dingo control research.

As part of the expanded programme, climate rooms costing $36,000 were being built at the CSIRO's division of wildlife research in Canberra.

These would be used to study, among other things, the degree of dependence of the dingo on water in a wide range of climates. This knowledge could be crucial in developing new control methods, particularly in dry areas, the statement said.

Arid-zone investigations on dingoes had been made near Alice Springs for the past three years, including the keeping of a colony of captive dingoes at Alice Springs to study breeding, growth rates and social behaviour.

The CSIRO had trapped nearly 1,000 dingoes in central Australia since 1966 to gain information on diet, breeding, numbers and distribution.

The division of wildlife research was hoping that long-term studies of the biology of the dingo in its natural environment would yield improved control measures.

An understanding of the biological role of scent "signature" substances in faeces and urine, or secreted by anal glands, might eventually lead to the development of lures.

An aerial baiting campaign carried out near watering points over 10,000 square miles in central Australia last year had been found to be ineffective.




Dingo Problem Worse Than Believed (1971)


GOULBURN, Wednesday. — Dingoes in the Goulburn - Wombeyan Caves district are now believed to be responsible for the deaths of up to 1,000 sheep.

At a meeting of the Goulburn Pastures Protection Board it was reported that two dingoes had been seen in the Taralga district.

During the new-year holiday period a large red dingo was caught a few miles out of Wombeyan. It was believed to have killed at least 70 sheep in four months.

It had been hoped that the Wombeyan Caves dingo was a "loner" which had moved away from his usual territory.

The other two dingoes reported were sighted about six miles from Taralga in scrub country near the border of open land.

The chairman of the Pastures Protection Board, Mr Flemming, said he had suffered sheep losses from dingoes and had been part of the group which had laid traps for the first dingo.

District graziers will be asked to set traps to catch the new arrivals.

These are the first dingoes to be seen in the district for more than 50 years.




Dingo (1976)

BRISBANE, Wednesday (AAP). — A wily red dingo nicknamed "The Jaws of the Downs" is eluding gra ziers on 9ueensland's west ern Darling Downs. The dog is known to have killed at least 500 sheep in the Chinchilla district in the past three months.




Hungry Dingoes on Move in ACT (1976)

Dingo packs are believed to be moving into the ACT and closer to Canberra in search of food.

More than 500 sheep have been killed in the ACT in the past two months by dingo packs.

The president of the Southern ACT Dingo Destruction Association, Mr V. M. Geoffrey, of Tharwa, said last night that the association had appealed to the Department of the Capital Territory to appoint a full time trapper in the area to stop the sheep slaughter.

Two property owners at Gudgenby had been forced to abandon running sheep on their land because of the heavy losses to the dog packs.

Mr Geoffrey said the dingo had not plagued the ACT since pre-war years, and the present packs had come from the Kosciusko area.

In the past three months, six dogs had been trapped by farmers in the Brindabella area, and another six had been taken in the Tharwa Gudgenby area. This indicated the severity of the dingo problem, and the future danger if the department did not take action to stop the packs.

If the property owners stopped running sheep where the packs now roam, the dogs will move closer to Canberra in search for food.




Denial on Dingoes (1976)

The president of the Southern ACT Dingo Destruction Association, Mr V. M. Jeffery, denied emphatically yesterday that many farmers in the ACT believed dingoes were necessary to control wild goats and pigs.

The dingo's ineffective ness in controlling wild pigs had been proved in the southern ACT, where the pig population had exploded despite the presence of dingoes that were killing a large number of sheep in the same areas, he said.

Wild goats were not a problem and his association did not expect them to become one in the ACT.




Plan for Dingoes to Replace Sheep (1976)

Sheep may be removed from the southern-border areas of the. ACT to make way for dingoes, the director of the Department of the Capital Territory's conservation, and agriculture branch, Dr B. Pratt, said on Friday.

The decision would be made in consultation with landholders and in the best, long-term interest of the area.

Dr Pratt was commenting on a report in The Canberra Times on Thursday that dingoes had killed more than 500 sheep in the ACT in the past two months and were moving closer to Canberra.
His staff had been keeping a close watch on the dingo problem and was carrying out a continuing assessment of the situation.

An area — comprising about one-third of the ACT — between Tharwa and the NSW border was a proposed national park, and the long-term picture did not include the present large proportion of agricultural zones.


Balance needed

The immediate problem was maintaining a satisfactory balance between the agricultural zones and the potential park areas, the balance between the two ecologies.

Dr Pratt said dingoes were important to a stable, natural ecology of the type planned for the national park and their eradication at this stage because of immediate problems could be disastrous in the future.

"I am aware that some landholders in the area have lost sheep because of dingo attacks, and we are taking steps to reduce the numbers, but no drastic action will be taken until the total assessment is made", he said.

The president of the Southern ACT Dingo Destruction Association. Mr V. M. Geoffrey, said on Friday night that he was satisfied with Dr Pratt's explanations, and he looked forward to a solution to the dingo problem.




No proof about dingoes (1976)

ARMIDALE, Wednesday. — A research officer for the National Parks and Wildlife Service who has been studying dingoes for eight years has found no evidence that they attack domestic stock.

The office, Mr Robert Harden, whose headquarters are at the University of New England in Armidale, has conducted his research in the New England region.

He is preparing a paper on his work.

Part of his research included fitting radio transmitters to dingoes and tracking their movements. Investigation also had involved the examination of 800 dingo skats (specimens of excreta).

He had found no evidence of domestic stock in any of these specimens. His studies showed that the preferred diet was native game.

He had never seen an attack or found any evidence personally, but he was prepared to accept the word of reliable graziers that they had seen dingoes attack calves and weaners.

This was most likely to happen when dingoes found themselves in cleared farming land where little native fauna was available.



Mr Wran Intercedes on Behalf of the Much-Maligned Dingo (1976)

From ERROL SIMPER, in Sydney
Sodium mono fluoroacetate is better recognised as the controversial dingo poison generally known as "1080". Most would agree it is an unusual, even strange, topic for NSW to be arguing about.

But Premier Mr Neville Wran's recent and rather dramatic intervention on behalf of unwanted dingoes in the Kanangra-Boyd National Park has brought Australia's much-maligned wild dog, the dingo, its control by 1080 poison or otherwise, its breeding habits, and possible extermination, etc, sharply into focus.

News that the State's National Parks and Wildlife Service planned to eliminate hundreds of' dingoes from Kanangra-Boyd, near Oberon, by dropping 1080 impregnated meat baits prompted Mr Wran to order his Lands and Environment Minister, Mr Crabtree, to quash the operation on the grounds that poisoning by 1080 was "a horrible way to die".

Mr Wran announced a few days ago that Pasture Protection Boards and Dingo Destruction Boards must in future obtain ministerial permission to carry out bait drops and that boards might also be asked to show that stock losses were, in fact, due to wild dogs.


"If aerial bait drops are allowed they must be selective", the Premier said. "They will have to be confined to known dingo tracks or other places which dingoes are known to frequent".

The use of 1080 has been completely banned within NSW national parks, pending clarification of the Government's attitude towards its continued usage.

For years now the destinies of the dingo and 1080 have been in extricably interwoven and furious verbal battles have been fought over the probity of both. I well remember a quite ferocious debate which preceded a Federal Government decision not to use 1080 as a general rule in the Northern Territory.

To some environmentalists and animal lovers the colourless, odourless and tasteless 1080 is a dangerous, painful and unnecessary killer; to many graziers it is an effective answer to hordes of unwanted wild dogs and rabbits.


The dingo, to some, is an emblem of rural Australiana, which they feel is almost or completely harmless and is being contaminated far too quickly by inter-breeding with domestic dogs; others continue to regard it as a vicious, indiscriminate killer of sheep and calves and whose only future should lie in the zoo.

Mr Wran's recent actions have, of course, ensured that the 1080-dingo debate will go on.
In fact it is a debate which appears likely to go on for some time, particularly in the light of Mr Wran's desire to hold a symposium on the advantages and disadvantages of the use of poisons in the destruction of "noxious" animals.

The chairman of the Southern Tablelands Dingo Destruction Board, Mr Ted Shorrock, told me last week that there was no doubt that dingoes and wild dogs were still a problem to graziers and that 1080 had, over the years, proved to be the most effective counter to them.

Not idiots

"I think it should be remembered that people on boards such as ours aren't idiots — we only use 1080 when we have to and it is handled only by properly trained personnel. In many cases we have been forced into using 1080 aerial baiting simply because of financial reasons. Graziers just can't afford to put extra trappers on.

"If we had to go back to trapping two things would happen: all landholders would have to double their rates paid to the board and the Government would have to double its subsidy", [the State Government subsidises such boards on a 70c for a dollar basis].  

"The fact is that if dingoes get kangaroo and wallaby populations down to a low level then they will turn their attention to sheep — that is if dingo populations are at saturation point.

"I would like to say that we have been using 1080 aerial baiting for 10 years and there has never been a substantiated complaint against us. We are always very careful how we use it, because there has always been this undercurrent, of feeling that we might lose it, I suppose".

Why the mystique about 1080? "I don't know", says Mr Shorrock. "It's just something which has always seemed to have a sort of mystery surrounding it which has been carried on over the years, that's all.

"It is certainly far more effective than, say, strychnine. Strychnine has a bitter taste. We have tried it instead of 1080 and it was proved to be ineffective in many cases".  

The livestock secretary of the Graziers Association of NSW, Mr Charles Blunt, says research on the effects of 1080 on 31 species of wild and domestic animals and 25 species of birds shows that canines have the lowest tolerance to the poison.

"Consequently, the concentration needed to control wild dogs is unlikely to endanger other wildlife species", says Mr Blunt.


"For this reason we have always supported the National Parks and Wildlife Service's use of 1080 baits, which conformed to the service's conservation policies. Traps have been suggested as an alternative but it should be recognised that traps catch and injure, other animals without discrimination.

"I understand that 1080 is used extensively against canines in areas of the United States, Canada, Mexico and South Africa where it is necessary to protect valuable furred animals by using a selective poison".

Mr George Gooliaeff, the secretary of the Maitland Pastures Protection Board, was another who said dingo populations were "posing problems".  

Care needed

He was basically opposed to poisoning because of the closely settled nature of his board's region, "but you've got to be careful where traps are set for the same reason", he said. "It is the same with shooting.

"I suspect that many of our 'dingoes' are crosses, and it can make control more difficult depending on the type of domestic dog involved. We believe we have evidence to suggest that alsatians and dingoes have mated and that is a particularly worrying mixture.

"I have always regretted withdrawal of the dingo scalp bonus around here ($10 for a dog; $5 for a puppy) because there were people who would help control numbers then, partly for the money and partly for the sport".

The Maitland Pastures Protection Board has resorted to 1080 to reduce rabbit numbers and its rabbit inspector, Mr Robert Johnston, says the result "a very humane death".  

"It's nonsense to say 1080 is different — somehow worse — than any other poisons", Mr Johnston said. "It is effective and I hope they don't take it away from us".


Inevitably, there is another side to the coin. Says Mr Len Willan, the chairman of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, "CSIRO research has shown that evidence of sheep consumption is found in only four per cent of dingoes. Most of this is carrion and the vast bulk of their food comes from rabbits, rats and' wallabies. Scientists have reported that dingoes do not constitute a major threat to livestock in NSW.

"Wildlife populations in national parks are kept in ecological balance by natural processes and farmers would do well to realise that dingoes and wedge-tailed eagles provide a highly effective and cheap method of controlling rabbit numbers.

"In any case, 1080 is not an effective rabbit bait. The CSIRO is currently studying the effects of 1080 bailing on wildlife populations and it is only proper that a moratorium be declared until such time as a decision is made — a decision based on facts, not hysterical emotions".  

In the meantime, two dingoes — the animals have often been regarded as untrainable — recently passed official obedience tests at Sydney dog-training schools. One dingo topped his particular "class", putting trendier, more orthodox pedigrees very much in the shade.


The vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Science, Senator Tony Mulvihill, said recently that "havens" ought to be provided in forests "to ensure the preservation of the dingo".

Another ally for the previously unloved dog is the author of the book `Dingoes Don't Bark'. Mr Lionel Hudson says the dingo is "the smartest animal" he has ever encountered.

"It has keener senses of sight, smell and hearing than most other-animals and, with the right training, could be of great value to man", says Mr Hudson.



Moves to Protect Dingoes in ACT (1977)


The much-maligned dingo soon could be declared a protected animal in the ACT.

The Minister for the ACT, Mr Staley, announced yesterday that in view of changing community attitudes toward the dingo he would review the legislation under which dingoes are at present declared noxious animals, a classification which requires farmers and graziers to seek them out and kill them once they have been sighted on a property.

Under the proposed law departmental wildlife officers will be allowed to cull troublesome dingoes and under special circumstances rural lessees will be permitted to kill dingoes which are known to have attacked stock. I believe they will be allowed to track an animal into declared national park areas if necessary.

Mr Staley said the decision to change the status of the Australian native dog had been reached after discussion between DCT officers and rural lessees. Much of the public's change in attitude was the result of investigations and observations by the CSIRO and other organistations.

This had shown that much of the dingo's diet consisted of small animals, including rabbits, other vermin, insects, lizards and frogs. In areas where this food was plentiful native dogs tended to prefer it to domestic livestock.

It was also thought that dingoes played a useful role in culling weak or excess individuals from native fauna populations. Efforts were being made to conserve them in nature reserves as an integral part of the native fauna both for study and management purposes.

The few dingoes believed to be in the ACT are unlikely to notice any immediate benefit from a change in the law. There are thought to be one or two in fairly inaccessible areas in the south or south-west of the Territory but even these sightings could have been of domestic dogs gone wild.

It is unlikely that purebred dingoes exist in the wild in any numbers in the ACT. A recent CSIRO survey suggests that about 90 per cent of wild dogs in Central Australia are pure dingo but that only about 25 per cent in the eastern highlands remain purebred, the rest having crossed with domestic dogs.
ACT rural lessees contend that uncontrolled domestic dogs are an in finitely greater problem to landholders than any dingoes.

This month more than 80 sheep have been killed or have had to be destroyed as a result of being attacked and mauled by domestic dogs on the out skirts of Canberra. One mob was in a paddock facing Ginninderra Drive and the other was in an area behind Fraser.

The president of the ACT Rural Lessees Association, Mr Peter Buck master, said last night that almost without exception domestic dogs caught attacking stock were cross- or pure-bred labradors, boxers, Afghan hounds, German shepherds or crossbred collies.




1080 Baits for National Park Use (1977)


The NSW Government has decided to allow the use of hand laid 1080 baits within the State's National Parks in an effort to control feral animals.

This reverses a June 1976, decision backed by the Premier, Mr Wran, to prohibit the use of 1080 within National Park boundaries. It comes after strong lobbying by landholders adjacent to the national parks who have complained of the build-up within the parks of feral cats, dogs and pigs which have been invading freehold land.

There has also been a move by six Pastures Protection Boards in southern NSW to urge the reintroduction of 1080 within parks. As late as yesterday, before the new government move was heard, the boards were planning a combined delegation to sec Mr Wran on the problems being created for landowners by the policy being followed in the parks, particularly in Kosciusko National Park.


Mr Wran intervened on June 26, last year to cancel a planned baiting program for the Boyd Kanangra National Park which would have used 1080. A statement at the time said a report on the use of 1080 would be prepared.

Some conservationists object to the use of 1080 because they consider it puts native birds and animals at risk. Supporters of the poison say that with supervised use, the risk is minimal and that native fauna runs a far higher risk of death or injury from domestic dogs gone wild, feral cats and feral pigs.

The State Government was under attack in State Parliament earlier this week on the 1080 issue. The Opposition spokesman for Lands, Mr Mason, asked the Minister for Lands and Environment, Mr Crabtree, for the reintroduction of 1080 baiting in the national parks and said that landholders in the affected areas had been forced to carry the burden of Mr Wran's trendy image.

He also criticised the State Government's decision to remove the fox from the official noxious animals' list as "selling out the interests of the landholders in the Monaro district".

The Member for Monaro, Mr Akister, (Lab), said in Cooma yesterday that removal of the fox from the list would have no effect on its present rate of destruction.

The fox

It did not in any way affect anyone's ability to trap shoot or bait foxes. It did clear an anomaly under the Act which allowed a man to be prosecuted simply for having foxes on his land.

The Government was not suggesting that the fox was not responsible for some farmyard and property stock deaths but the amount of harm it did was of no great economic consequence viewed alongside the destruction caused by feral animals.


Mr Akister said the Government planned to allocate $SI08,000 this year to work on eradication of noxious flora and fauna.

["this wouldn't touch the sides of the blackberry problem", one southern NSW PP Board officer said].

The Government had raised to 528,000 the money available to the Southern Tablelands Dingo Destruction Board to employ two trappers.




Qld Dingo Fence `In Doubt' (1977)

BRISBANE: Moves are being made again to abandon Queensland's 5,850 kilometre dingo-barrier fence — the longest in the world — because of rapidly escalating costs to maintain it.

The fence was 'saved' by a recommendation of a recent committee of inquiry into animal and vegetable pests.

But estimated costs of maintaining it in dog-proof condition now have jumped from $2.4 million to S3.1 million.

The United Graziers Association executive council defeated by 11 votes to eight yesterday, a motion aimed at enforcing the association's policy to keep the fence.

The association president, Mr John Heussler, said that despite the motion's defeat any alteration to the association's policy on the fence could only be made by the annual State council meeting next May.




Dingo 'joins' RAAF  (1978)

Sergeant Neville Kleidon with Boots at the RAAF base, Fairbaim, yesterday.

Boots makes history for his breed

An RAAF sergeant based at Fairbairn began training a dingo yesterday for drug detection and tracking work.

Sergeant Neville Kleidon brought the dingo to Canberra on Wednesday from Bargo, NSW, for a private venture to evaluate the breed. He will report on the evaluation to his Air Force superiors, who will consider enlisting the dog, or others of the same breed, for service work.  

Sergeant Kleidon obtained approval yesterday from the RAAF to train the dog, Wellington or "Boots", at his house in the married quarters on the base, in his own time.

He has Commonwealth Government permission to "keep and train" a dingo, which he understands is the first such approval granted in Australia. Dingoes are classed as noxious vermin in all States. Sergeant Kleidon has been a dog trainer for the service for the past 16 years.

"In some kinds of work like drug detection, dingoes might by better than German Shepherds because they can squeeze into places where bigger dogs are unable to go", Sergeant Kleidon said yesterday.

"This one is an exceptional dog, which is why we chose him. Most of his breed are very wary but he is quite friendly.

"The dingo sense of smell is acute which will be very useful in his training.

"His mother and father were both born in the wild, but he was bred in captivity. He is one of the best of his litter for my purposes.

"He will be given the standard Air Force training, with allowances for his personality which we make for all dogs in training".

Boots is 14 months old.



Educated dingo moving to Queensland (1978)

Australia's only "official" dingo is leaving town to continue his education in Queensland.

Honorary "Leading Aircraftsman Boots" (which is short for Wellington) has been transferred to the RAAF's Police Dog Training Centre at Toowoomba, Queensland, because his trainer, Sergeant Neville Kleidon, has been posted there from the RAAF Base, Fairbairn.

The Fairbairn dogs will remain in good hands despite the loss of Boots and their sergeant. He is being replaced by Sergeant Fred Bassett who has been running the dog house at the RAAF base. Butterworth, Malaysia.

Boots is being trained by Sergeant Kleidon with special Commonwealth permission to evaluate the potential usefulness of the breed for tracking and guard purposes. Dingoes have been declared vermin because of farmers' complaints about them molesting stock, a point on which the CS1RO and other bodies have considerable reservations.

A RAAF spokesman said Boots's progress so far had been entirely satisfactory. He mixed well with his German Shepherd companions and though considerably lighter is a lot faster and has much better sight, hearing and smell.

Bred from wild parents, the RAAF dingo had already absorbed all the elementary commands and had been exercised across hurdles and through a flaming hoop. So far he had not learnt to track on command but would spontaneously follow a scent if led to it.

There was some concern that the German Shepherds might not take kindly to a wild dog being introduced to them but that has been no problem. Boots, though lighter than the other dogs and not as aggressive, has shown in the few flare-ups that have occurred that he can look after himself.

Moves to "decriminalise" the dingo have started in the ACT with legislation being prepared to have them removed from the list of "noxious animals" and declared instead to be protected fauna.
Some experts believe that because of their closeness to their natural instincts dingoes could make better explosives or drug "sniffers" than domestic breeds.




ACT dingoes still classed as noxious (1978)


The dingo will not become a protected animal in the ACT until some time after February 20 next year.
A spokesman for the Department of the Capital Territory said yesterday that the dingo was still classed as a noxious animal under the Rabbit Destruction Ordinance. A dingo may be shot, poisoned or trapped in the ACT.

Farmers with land bordering the ACT are facing dingo activity of critical proportions and have blamed in part the attitude of the Department of the Capital Territory toward dingo-control measures. Many of them believed, following a statement by a former Minister for the Capital Territory, Mr Staley, on May 27, last year, that the dog had become a protected animal.

Mr Staley announced in his statement that legislation would be enacted "soon" to protect the dingo. The draft Nature Conservation Bill and Regulations was approved by the ACT Legislative Assembly in June this year but has not been tabled in Parliament, which will not sit again until February 20.
The Bill provides for fines of up to $1,000, imprisonment for six months, or both, for a person killing, injuring or molesting or taking a wild animal and will make the dingo a protected animal.

A report in The Canberra Times on Thursday referred to the dingo as a protected animal in the ACT.




Dingo pups offered for $300 each (1978)

MELBOURNE: Six dingo pups went on sale in Melbourne yesterday for $300 each.

The owner of the nine-week-old pups, Mr Bruce Jacobs, of Woodend, 80 kilo metres north-west of Melbourne, said he was trying to introduce the wild dogs on to the domestic market to save them from extinction.

He has been breeding dingoes for 12 years, and recently gave one to a guide dog school. None of the six had been sold yesterday.