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The Dingo Fence in Australia: The longest fence, and one of the longest structures, in the world

David Goran

Erected in 1885 to keep Dingos and other wild dogs out of South-Eastern Australia and protect the sheep flocks, the Dingo Fence, or Dog Fence, stretches across two southeastern Australian states, Queensland and South Australia.

A portion of the dingo fence near Coober Pedy. Photo Credit

A portion of the dingo fence near Coober Pedy. Photo Credit

the world’s longest fence, has split Australia in two for the past 130 years. Photo Credit

The world’s longest fence has split Australia in two for the past 130 years. Photo Credit

Stretching 5,614 kilometers from Jimbour to Fowlers Bay in the Great Australian Bight, it is one of the longest structures in the world and the world’s longest fence.

A portion of the Dingo Fence in 1952 in Queensland. Photo Credit

A portion of the Dingo Fence in 1952 in Queensland.

The fence was made to keep Dingos out of south east Australia and particularly to protect the sheep of southern Queensland. Photo Credit

The fence was made to keep Dingos out of south-east Australia and particularly to protect the sheep of southern Queensland. Photo Credit

Route of the Dingo Fence (purple). Photo Credit

Route of the Dingo Fence (purple). Photo Credit

The Dingo Fence was not always a dog fence. In fact, it was originally built as a rabbit proof fence, to stop the spread of the rabbit plague across state borders. It was built across the South East section of Australia. However, in 1914, it proved to be unsuccessful, so it was converted into a dog fence. Government funds were being used to heighten and expand the fence.

Until 1980, the fence was 8,614 kilometers long, but was then shortened to 5,614 kilometers. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

Until 1980, the fence was 8,614 kilometers long, but was then shortened to 5,614 kilometers. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

The fence helped reduce losses of sheep to predators. Photo Credit

The fence helped reduce losses of sheep to predators. Photo Credit

The most effective method of preventing dingoes from killing sheep in southeastern Australia was to stop them from entering the area in the first place. The fence is nearly 2 meters (6 ft) high and extends about 30 cm underground to keep the dingo from digging under it.

Dingo Fence at Igy Corner, SW of Coober Pedy. Photo Credit

Dingo Fence at Igy Corner, SW of Coober Pedy. Photo Credit

Even though it is not a native animal, the dingo has been a part of the Australian ecosystem for 3,000 to 4,000 years. Photo Credit

Even though it is not a native animal, the dingo has been a part of the Australian ecosystem for 3,000 to 4,000 years. Photo Credit

Although the fence has helped reduce losses of sheep to predators, some dingos have managed to slip through holes and have become a threat to local livestock.

It has been partly successfully over the years, though dingoes can still be found in parts of the southern states. Photo Credit

It has been partly successfully over the years, though dingoes can still be found in parts of the southern states. Photo Credit

The fence is still actively maintained. Photo Credit

The fence is still actively maintained. Photo Credit

According to Dr. Mike Letnic of the University of Sydney, the dingo, as Australia’s top predator, has an important role in maintaining the balance of nature, and reintroduced dingo populations could increase biodiversity across more than 2 million square kilometers of Australia.