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Birds of a feather stick together: Australia’s Great Emu War

Photo: Flickr.
Photo: Flickr.

In defiance over nature Australia has proved to be a worthy advisory. This is a nation proving to all other fauna that humans are on top of the metaphorical food chain. Mostly by barbequing other animals in large public facilities. Kangaroo and crocodile burgers are Australia’s statement against Mother Nature. However, one animal bravely fought back, Australia’s own large flightless bird, the emu. To this day the infamous Great Emu War of 1932 is an event that Western Australian locals would rather not talk about.

After the First World War many Australian troops returned to Australia looking for a quieter life. An initiative by the Australian government as means to help reintegrate soldiers from the Great War back into civilian life was that they would receive farming land for their service. Much of this was located between Perth and Kalgoorlie. World War One was a devastating war for Australia and with the onset of the Great Depression things seemed very bleak for the young nation. However, things can always get worse.

Emu Commander. Photo: Wikipedia.

In 1932 20,000 emus descended upon this farmland and ate the nations much needed wheat crops and destroyed their farmlands. It was, quite literally, an invasion like no other.

The situation was looking pretty dire for these farmers, so they asked for help from the Ministry of Agriculture. However, it was the Ministry of Defence, Sir George Pearce who came to these ex-soldiers’ aid and sent two soldiers and 10,000 rounds of ammunition to destroy these birds and perhaps increase moral.

These soldiers did what they could to eradicate the problem. However, the birds were too deceptive and according to some seemed to have the ability to dodge bullets. The birds ended up scattering and fled, essentially wasting everyone’s time.

On November 8th 1932, the Australian House of Representatives decided to withdraw. Between the failure of the engagement, Britain denouncing the cull and the negative attention from local media, it was announced that the birds had won the war.

To this day the emu stands defiantly on the Australians Coat of Arms, proudly mocking all West Australians.

Lauren McIntosh

Australian_Coat_of_Arms

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