Australia: Filling in the Ghastly Blank

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Rabbiters & Corpses. In South and Western Australia, census takers from Humbug Scrub to Boologooroo prowled the inner edge of the Great Australian Bight in search of opal gougers, oil drillers, boundary riders and randomly wandering rabbiters. One truck driver from Adelaide was asked to deliver and collect questionnaires on the lonely "No Tree" Plain when he went out to pick up rabbits from the wandering hunters. He got five tons of rabbits and 200 questionnaires.

Motor launches took questionnaires to lonely lighthouses at Neptune and Thistle Islands and along the Great Barrier Reef, while on the equatorial Australian-trust island of New Ireland, Census Taker Douglas Fyfe, normally a schoolteacher, set up shop beside a flooded river to interview rubber-plantation workers. Four men drowned in a swamped boat as they tried to reach Fyfe, but he counted them anyway, since they had been alive 30 hours earlier on the census deadline.

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