Australia’s Great Emu War of 1932

There have been many events throughout the history of mankind that seem absurd or comical in hindsight. Of these, Australia’s Great Emu War of 1932 must be placed near the top of that list.

The Emu War was not a nickname. It really was a type of war in which armed soldiers were sent out to kill these large, flightless birds. The most surprising aspect of this whole military operation is that the emus managed to defeat the Australian army. So, why was the army out fighting emus, and how did these birds win the war?

yester.ly
yester.ly

It all began after World War I, when the Australian government gave out plots of land to returning veterans. The idea was that these ex-soldiers would support themselves by farming the land, raising sheep and growing wheat. Unfortunately, some of this land, especially the plots located in Western Australia, was not very fertile and was difficult to farm. When the Great Depression hit in 1929, crop prices fell, and these farmers struggled even harder to eke out a living.

As the Depression ground on and these new farmers fought against their marginal land, emus began migrating into the area. The birds had always migrated during their breeding season, but the newly cleared land and water from irrigation systems made these farms very attractive to the birds. By 1932, about 20,000 emus began invading the cropland, destroying the growing wheat. Farmers tried to kill the birds themselves, but there were so many that their efforts had no impact.

The desperate farmers begged the military to help them get rid of the birds. The Seventh Heavy Battery of the Royal Australian Artillery was sent to the Campion district in November of 1932. They found a group of about 50 emus and prepared to gun them down, but the birds foiled their attempts by separating and running around all over the place. The army did manage to kill a few of the birds, but not near as many as they had hoped.

A few days later, another assault was planned on a group of 1000 emus that had been spotted nearby. This time, the army’s machine gun jammed, and the birds scattered yet again. Only 12 emus were killed in this maneuver, and the rest got away.

The army did not give up, though. They continued trying to ambush them, and they even tried shooting them from moving military vehicles. The soldiers had trouble aiming at the birds while moving, so this effort did little to aid the farmers in their fight against the emus. By the end of this first campaign, 2500 rounds of ammunition had been used, but only 200 emus had been killed.

Within a few weeks, the army tried again. This time they were more successful, in that they managed to begin killing roughly 100 emus per week. However, it was taking an average of ten bullets to kill each emu, making the campaign prohibitively expensive relative to results. The army was recalled, and the government began giving bullets to the farmers instead. Unlike the army, the ex-soldier/farmers managed to kill nearly 60,000 of the birds in six months.

Today, Australia has around 700,000 emus. It is now considered one of the country’s animal symbols and has protected animal status. Now, environmentalists are working to save wild populations of the bird in some areas where they are threatened, which is a major about-face from their stance some 80+ years ago.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • Transgender Women Able To Breastfeed

    A transgender woman was able to happily produce healthy milk to feed her partner’s newborn child. A new report that was following the case shows she was able to breastfeed the baby for six weeks without any issues. This is a groundbreaking report and the first medical document of its...

    Read More
  • Your DNA Could Stretch To Pluto And Back Over 17 Times

    The human genome, the genetic code that makes a human well a human is a fascinating science. It continues to open up new doors and understanding about our wellbeing and health. Some things today we still do not fully understand. But what we do know is that the length of all your DNA combined is...

    Read More
  • The Mad Egyptian Pickpocket King

    King Farouk the last ruler of Egypt had an embarrassing and strange problem: he could not stop pickpocketing people. A bit of a bizarre trait for someone who had unlimited wealth, no? In fact, he was he caused so many problems during his monarchy that some people believe he is...

    Read More
  • American Woman Falls Asleep And Wakes Up British!

    For a young woman in Arizona, this suddenly became a reality. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Even though she had never been out of the United States she woke up speaking with a British accent. In 2015, Michelle Myers went to bed early with an extreme headache, just thinking she had a pretty bad migraine. Yet...

    Read More
  • Avicenna The Scientist Responsible For Quarantine

    Avicenna or Abu Ali Sina was a Persian scientist who is seen as one of the greatest thinkers that came out of the Islamic Golden Age. The Islamic Golden Age is an era where the Islamic world flourished, great scientific and economic development was possible and is generally dated from the 8th century all the...

    Read More
  • You Can See An Owl’s Eyeball Through Their Ears

    Ever wanted to see the inside of an owl’s eyeball? No, not really? Well if you did all you would have to do is have a quick peek inside their ears! You can just literally look into the inside of an owl’s head through their ears. Owls, like all birds,...

    Read More
  • Khalid Bin Walid: The Undefeated General

    When you look back at history and try to complete a list of the greatest military commanders. A big win for a potential candidate would, of course, being undefeated. And when you look at that trait the list is very small, in fact, he is one of three and his name is Khalid Bin Walid....

    Read More
  • When Pirate Money Was Funding New York

    Newborn New York in the 17th century was definitely a strange place to be and not a place that one would commonly link to pirates. But newborn New York was filled with swashbuckling buccaneers all looking for plunder. This was a perfect port for all the privateers and pirates that...

    Read More