Post and rail fences had a relatively minor role in England in the eighteenth century, primarily to protect young hedges. However, they rapidly became the most advanced form of fences in the new Australian colonies founded in 1788 and later. The key feature is that thinned tenons on the ends of rectangular split rails fit closely into mortises cut in the rectangular split posts. Post and rail fences were widespread but never common because of the high cost, lack of secure land tenure, and ubiquitous use of shepherds to guard against predatory dingoes. With the introduction of cheap iron wire in the mid-1850s, farmers and pastoralists gained many advantages from fencing their boundaries and paddocks. By 1900 post and rail fences were obsolete technologically, although farmers built decreasing numbers up to the 1960s. More recently, many people are relocating old post and rail fences onto peri-urban subdivisions and erecting new ones to create a rustic appearance. Post and rail fence use in advertisements and other media shows that they have achieved a new status as an icon of rural Australia.

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