Fenced In

old fashioned wooden fenceThe word fence is short for defens – or defence .  Back as far as history can recall, the British used to call them fens.  Obviously fences have been in use since people became articulate enough to realise that some sort of boundary construction was needed to protect themselves from unwanted intruders.

Protection from animals and in deed from their fellow man, as it seems that man has always been very territorial and even today, they will go to great lengths to let other humans know that a particular parcel of land belongs to the fence builder and the line is not to be crossed.

Very quickly historic land owners soon learned that mere fencing was not enough to keep intruders out, so the design of the fence grew to become a wall made of stone, you can find historic stone providers today on the internet, but that’s another story. Unfortunately there is little proof of when the fence was first built, mainly because they were made of wood and therefore rotting and leaving little trace of existence.

Now days fencing is mainly used to keep young people or pets within a confined area of a garden area belonging to your home, to protect them and keep them away from other people and also as a fence around a swimming pool to stop anything falling in and drowning.  The fence could also be used as a privacy barrier so passers by can not see you lounging in your back yard.  To some extent the fence can also be used to block ugly views and to dampen noise. Fences are usually a standard size, however application to Council may allow you to extend this height, providing it does not block neighbors natural light.

The word fence means many things – here are just some:

  • Fence          a barrier, usually constructed of wood or metal.
  • Fence          to fight with thin swords called rapiers or epees, a combat started around 1580
  • Fence          a criminal person dealing in stolen goods.  Originated in the 1700’s
  • Fence          a barrier used by American Indians to hide behind when attacked by an enemy
  • Fence          sitting on the fence.  Not being able to decide which side to take – this is a figurative use of the word.

There are of course other kinds of fences available apart from the standard wooden or metal types.  There is the very English idea of building a fence of bushes, which is called a hedge, some of these hedges are centuries old and are extremely tall, (pity the poor gardener who has to trim them).

A Rabbit Proof Fence, well known in Australia, that encircled Western Australia to help keep out the plague of rabbits was built.   Rabbits were an import from England, perhaps one stowed away on board one of the ships, or an innocent family bringing their family pets (a mating pair) to Australia for their children.  The plague was so bad, it took 40 years to construct the fence, so consumed were the authorities with the idea of keeping their land safe.  The fence was mainly constructed using immigrant and convict labor.  Not only rabbits were considered a pest, but Emus, Wild Dogs, Kangaroos etc. who threatened to decimate the agricultural industry and the livelihood of ordinary farmers.

Australian fence to protect from rabbits and dingosA book was written and later converted to a film in 2002 called Rabbit-Proof Fence, which received an award from the Australian Film Industry.  It tells the story of three aboriginal girls left alone in the world after their family was killed, walking beside the fence and existing any way they could.

A strange fence, which is in Washington US., is built underground to protect the Washington Monument.  It is sometimes called the Ha Ha fence due to the fact that it was built underground so the lawns would not be spoiled.

There was a lot of turmoil in early America called the range wars.  Farmers, Cattle Owners etc. built huge fences to claim their property and this caused havoc for people trying to find their way around the country without coming across a fence that they were forced to go around (often hundred of acres worth).  The American Indian found it impossible to herd Buffalo and they were often blamed by the early farmers for destruction of their fences due to the frightened Buffalo charging and damaging the fences.  Some of the land claims were dubious and many a legal and physical battle ensued over claims for territory.

The traditional garden fence became popular after the second world war.  Prior to this the picket, or heritage, fences were used.  Pat’s fencing can build just about any design you may require, including timber gates.

On researching this subject, I found that there were rock bands called Fence and The Fences, which made researching a little difficult.  There are some sayings that are well known about fences, they include.

  1. Sitting on the fence
  2. Mending fences with your enemies
  3. Swinging for a fence
  4. Everyone pushes a falling fence
  5. Don’t fence me in.

So the humble fence has quite a history and I have only scratched at the surface.  One thing is for sure, if you live in Hobart Tasmania, there is one place where you can get a first class fence constructed by an expert fence builder at very competitive prices.  Durability, good looks, including the best materials available are all vital when looking to erect a fence. Have a look at the front page and the product page from which you can get information and choose your favorite fence.

Also, there is an ebook available, absolutely free and with no obligation which points out the things you should look for when thinking of hiring a fence builder, just fill in the form on the right of this page.  Do not forget also, that a well constructed, good looking fence will add value to your property.