Australian rural fences: Heritage challenges for conserving the unconservable

John Pickard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Fences are ubiquitous in all settled areas of rural Australia and those older than 50 years qualify as historic heritage. However, the linear nature of fences (kilometres long and only millimetres wide), complicated by joint ownership on boundaries, pose severe challenges for heritage management. They are threatened by combinations of decay, termite attack, fire, flood, and replacement or maintenance. These threats are illustrated using several examples of rare heritage fences (hedge, dog-leg, pise, lace, chock-and-log and stubb). There is currently no framework for determining which fences are important heritage. Despite this, a very few fences have been restored slightly, some relocated to museums, and a very few replicas constructed of famous fences (e.g. Rabbit Proof Fence No. 1 in Western Australia). However, for most fences considered to be heritage, the future is bleak and detailed recording appears the only practicable option.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-510
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


  • Australia
  • Burra charter
  • Fence
  • Heritage conservation


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