The Rabbit King

The Rabbit King

Catherine Watson, Fairfield Press

Catherine Watson takes us back to any earlier time as she relates the story of a young boy, Jack McCraith, growing up in the outer Melbourne suburbs during the days of the Great Depression.

People were surviving on what they could grow in their own backyard vegetable gardens and on the rabbits, which were in profusion at that time.

Everybody knew how to catch rabbits but, as a young fellow, Jack was determined to make his way by selling rabbits.

From humble beginnings on his bicycle then to motor cycle, car and ultimately refrigerated trucks, he was able to capture the local market as well as compete with the two largest exporters in the country.

The trappers and shooters were a rough and ready lot but Jack was trusted to always do the right thing. They were paid in cash on the spot.

While much of this was promptly spent in the nearest pub, they always were ready and waiting for the next regular visit from Jack’s buyers.

In his early brash days Jack McCraith is described as “a dominant man” who held “a high opinion of his own opinion and a low opinion of most other people’s”.

Although they were expected to work hard, he was loyal to his employees and, when work slowed down or they ran into personal trouble, he kept them on, frequently advancing them money.

He displayed a generosity largely absent in modern business enterprises.

An interesting story of a man raised in difficult times, who, through hard work and commitment, built an industry from “Rabbits! Bloody Rabbits Everywhere!”

John Atkinson

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