1937 First frog farm at Euroa

The American Bullfrog was the species promoted for farming

It was touted in American magazines as a money-making enterprise. Henry Jacka and Sydney Willson imported ‘breeding stock’ of bullfrogs from the American Frog Canning Company and established a frog farm in the Victorian country town of Euroa. However, the frogs apparently failed to breed and the enterprise failed.>‘Paradise’, Euroa by Bernadette Hince

Although the Euroa enterprise was the first frog farm for culinary purposes, the Otago Daily Times in New Zealand published an article in 1917 headlined “A visit to Australia’s only frog farm.” The article explained that the frogs produced were not destined for the table but for laboratories. “There is not yet any demand in Australia for frogs for table purposes,” the paper asserted. “The snail finds its way into many dining rooms, however, and a number of men, it is said are now engaged in raising these succulent creatures for the market.”

Former Euroa resident, Bernadette Hince, has produced a paper for the Australian National University and Centre for Historical Studies, National Museum of Australia, that recounts the curious story of the frog farm. She writes that, although there was, at the time, no market for frogs’ legs in Australia in the 1930s, some Australians were attracted by advertisements that appeared in US magazines such as Modern Mechanix.

The American Bullfrog was promoted as the foundation species for a frog farm

Frogs were imported by sea from the USA, with a high mortality rate en route. The Euroa venture, known as the Watson Frog Farm, was officially opened on 21 August 1937. It received considerable publicity in the local and the Melbourne press. However, according to local accounts, it quietly closed without a single frog’s leg being sold.

Frog farming was touted as a profitable business in the United States during the 1930s. However, it seemed most of the enterprises there suffered the same fate as the Euroa operation. Despite this, by 2010 the international market for frog meat was estimated at $40 million, with farming operations underway in Europe, Brazil, and Southeast Asia.

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