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Rats have been a constant companion to human societies. The Australian bush rat (rattus fuscipes) is one of the few non-marsupial mammals, along with humans, dingos and bats, to have lived in Australia before British colonisation of the continent. After 1788, a variety of animal species including cows, sheep and horses began to be deliberately introduced into Australia. Unwanted stowaways also arrived including the black rat (rattus rattus) and the brown rat (rattus norvegicus). These animals continued the status they held in Europe as a pest, being regarded with a distaste which sometimes grew to fear. With its wharves, workshops and processing industries, Honeysuckle was prime rat habitat. Concern about their presence came to head in the early years of the twentieth century when bubonic plague arrived in Australia from Asian ports. Health authorities around the continent swung into action, cleansing the cities with a focus on killing rats. During the plague outbreak in 1900, poisoned baits were laid from the Pilot Station near Nobbys along the waterfront all the way to Honeysuckle Railway Station, at the end of Steel Street. People were encouraged to kill rats around their own homes and businesses and to bring them to be burned in a furnace set up for the purpose at the rear of the morgue at the harbour end of Merewether Street. From May, 1900, a docket for sixpence to be redeemed at the Harbours and Rivers Department was presented for each rat delivered to the incinerator. Public spirit and the opportunity to earn some easy money got the people of Newcastle moving, and they delivered more than 4000 rats for destruction in the first three weeks of the operation. One man was so keen that he turned in his wifes pet white rats. Faced with plague again in 1907, the NSW Board of Health sent two rat catchers from Sydney to Newcastle to work under the wharves including at Honeysuckle Point. The bodies of the rats they killed were tested by the District Medical Officer for Health, Dr Robert Dick, for evidence of being infected with the plague. Despite measures such as these, plague took its toll on Australians, killing 1215 between 1900 and 1910, including 14 in Newcastle in 1905. The war on rats continued and was one of the reasons for a shift from wooden wharves with their many hiding places to less rat friendly concrete wharves in the 1920s