May, 27 2010
Balfour Downs/Rabbit Proof Fence
William L Fox

We leave town at 9.30, and at 12.15 we're on the Balfour Downs Road and crossing a new intersection at the Rabbit-Proof Fence, a sign nearby proclaiming it the longest fence in the world at 1837 km. Even the Hema Desert Tracks guide knows better, listing the Dog Fence at about three times longer. Regardless, the modern fences of Australia, which invariably cut across the Songlines, demand their own narrative. The Dog Fence, on the other side of the country, is actually the longest continuous human made structure on the planet, and I'm unsure why the Rabbit Fences of Western Australia are allowed to claim the honour. Perhaps it's the larger issue that matters more: humans link points in time and space by narrative and structure, linear assemblages that allow us to understand where we are. By linear I don't mean straight, but rather proceeding from point to point, a method of wayfinding through country and events. Call it Dreamtime, call it history, it's a way of transmitting essential knowledge from generation to generation that should, in theory, preserve us from committing the mistakes of the past.

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