Early days at Manilla Freezing Works
Early days at Manilla Freezing Works, cnr. Burrell & Arthur Streets.  

The first Freezing Works in Manilla were built at the corner of Burrell & Arthur Streets in late 1916. T. A. Sampson owned the first Manilla Freezing Works, along with the Rabbit Processing Works at Homebush in Sydney. The Arthur street works operated for 20 years, until closure in 1936. The company had the right to place rabbit trappers on farming properties, a situation welcomed by land-holders.

The second freezing works were erected in 1937 at the railway yards on Arthur Street, just north of the tall concrete silo. 
During the first half of the 20th century, the rabbit, introduced during the early days of colonisation, had reached plague proportions throughout Australia, creating widespread destruction of farming land. They were culled in their thousands and trucked to freezing works all over the country. In addition to chilling rabbits, the works produced block ice for hotels, businesses and household ice-chests in the days before refrigeration units became available to all. 

Packing Rabbits for Export at Manilla
From front left: Cyril Weatherall; Bruce Young; Tom Bettison; 

From back right: Abby Bettison; Viv Young; and Charlie Hurcum

Regarding the RABBIT. . .

Rabbit population control has occupied Australian science for over 150 years, with a focus on biological control during the second half of the 20th century and continuing to this day.

The release of Mixoma in the 1950s reduced rabbit populations by many millions for a period, before genetic resistance resulted in a return to former numbers. Calicivirus in the 1990s had a similar outcome.
Recently, farmers have taken to GPS mapping of rabbit warrens on rural properties in an effort to gauge and control numbers.

The development of commercial refrigeration equipment by Wildridge & Sinclair in the late 19th century and its widespread use in the first half of the 20th century, allowed for the chilling of meat products near the source, before transporting by rail to the processing plant. 

External LINKS

The Australian Town & Country Journal - April 3 1907



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