This year's Ratting Day took place on the 2nd June 2023.

Ratting Day 2023

Report from Rachel Green. Photos from Randal Repetto

Friday the 2nd June 2023 was Ratting Day, a community tradition held annually.

In the olden days 'Ratting Day' started out as a way to try and reduce the number of rats and mice. It then turned into a competition. The men would gather in their gangs and each would compete to see who could catch the largest number of rats. Each gang has a name taken from the plots of land out at the Potato Patches - Redbody Hill, Coolers, Daley's Hill, Below the Hill, Second Watron, Johnny Patch, Twitty Patch, Bills Hills, Old Pieces and The Farm. Nowadays there aren't as many gangs but the tradition of Ratting Day still continues.

Digging for rats Digging for rats Digging for rats
Ratting Day action

The gong sounded around 7.00am Friday morning. Some men camped out at the 'Patches', which is to the west of the village, the previous night to get an early start that morning. The women packed up a bundle of food for the men and off they went to hunt as many rats and mice as possible before the deadline that evening. The dogs were also excited to go and would know exactly what to do when the men shout 'hi take rats'! They would sniff out the nests and the men would dig them out. Then its mayhem. Only the tails would be taken as that's the only part of the rats that's counted.

Dogs find a rat hole
Above:The dogs find a rat hole. Below right: Cutting tails.
Digging for rats Cutting the tails off

All tails were handed in by 5.30pm to be counted and measured. Judges were Medical Officer Dr. Gunther Kellermeier and Head of Agriculture Neil Swain. Prizes were given for the most tails, longest tails and a booby prize for the gang with the least amount of tails.


Most Tails

Prize Tails per Man Winning Team
First 54.5 Coolers
Second 45.5 Johnny Patch
Third 23.6 Below the Hill

Longest Tail

Prize Longest Tail Winning Team
First 34cm Below the Hill
Second 31cm Jack's Pieces
Total Number of Tails Caught = 453
Booby Prize: Old Pieces