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Emu Conflict – Wikipedia

Emu Conflict – Wikipedia

2024-01-15 11:14:17

Australian nuisance wildlife administration marketing campaign

The Emu Conflict (or Nice Emu Conflict)[2] was a nuisance wildlife management military operation undertaken in Australia over the later a part of 1932 to handle public concern over the variety of emus (a big flightless bird indigenous to Australia) stated to be destroying crops within the Campion district throughout the Wheatbelt of Western Australia. The unsuccessful makes an attempt to curb the inhabitants of emus employed Royal Australian Artillery troopers armed with Lewis guns—main the media to undertake the identify “Emu Conflict” when referring to the incident. Though many birds had been killed, the emu inhabitants continued and continued to trigger crop destruction.


Fallow attributable to emus

Following World War I, massive numbers of discharged veterans who served within the conflict got land by the Australian authorities to take up farming inside Western Australia, typically in agriculturally marginal areas. With the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, these farmers had been inspired to extend their wheat crops, with the federal government promising—and failing to ship—help within the type of subsidies. Regardless of the suggestions and the promised subsidies, wheat costs continued to fall, and by October 1932 the state of affairs intensified, with the farmers getting ready to reap the season’s crop whereas concurrently threatening to refuse to ship the wheat.[1]

The farmers’ difficulties had been worsened by the arrival of roughly 20,000 emus.[3] Emus usually migrate after their breeding season, heading to the coast from the inland areas. With the cleared land and extra water provides being made accessible for livestock by the Western Australian farmers, the emus discovered that the cultivated lands had been good habitat, and so they started to foray into farm territory—particularly the marginal farming land round Chandler and Walgoolan.[1] The emus consumed and spoiled the crops and left massive gaps in fences the place rabbits might enter and trigger additional issues.[4]

Farmers relayed their issues concerning the birds ravaging their crops, and a deputation of ex-soldiers had been despatched to fulfill with the Minister of Defence, Sir George Pearce. Having served in World Conflict I, the soldier-settlers had been properly conscious of the effectiveness of machine weapons, and so they requested their deployment. The minister readily agreed, though with circumstances hooked up: the weapons had been for use by army personnel, troop transport was to be financed by the Western Australian authorities, and the farmers would supply meals, lodging, and cost for the ammunition.[1][5] Pearce additionally supported the deployment on the grounds that the birds would make good goal apply,[6] whereas it has additionally been argued that some within the authorities might have considered the operation as a means of being seen to be serving to the Western Australian farmers, in addition to to stave off the brewing secession movement. In direction of that finish, a cinematographer from Fox Movietone was enlisted.[1]

The “conflict”

Defence minister Sir George Pearce ordered the military to cull the emu inhabitants. He was later known as the “Minister of the Emu Conflict” in parliament by Senator James Dunn.[7]

Army involvement was as a result of start in October 1932.[5] The “conflict” was performed below the command of Main Gwynydd Purves Wynne-Aubrey Meredith of the Royal Australian Artillery‘s seventh Heavy Artillery,[1][6] with Meredith commanding troopers Sergeant S. McMurray and Gunner J. O’Halloran,[8] armed with two Lewis guns[9] and 10,000 rounds of ammunition.[6] The operation was delayed, nonetheless, by a interval of rainfall that triggered the emus to scatter over a wider space.[5] The rain ceased by 2 November 1932,[1][5] whereupon the troops had been deployed with orders to help the farmers and, based on a newspaper account, to gather 100 emu skins in order that their feathers may very well be used to make hats for light horsemen.[10]

First try

On 2 November, the boys travelled to Campion, the place some 50 emus had been sighted.[1] Because the birds had been out of vary of the weapons, the native settlers tried to herd the emus into an ambush, however the birds cut up into small teams and ran in order that they had been tough to focus on.[6] However, whereas the primary fusillade from the machine weapons was ineffective because of the vary, a second spherical of gunfire was capable of kill “a quantity” of birds. Later the identical day a small flock was encountered, and “maybe a dozen” birds had been killed.[1]

The following important occasion was on 4 November. Meredith had established an ambush close to a neighborhood dam, and greater than 1,000 emus had been noticed heading in the direction of their place. This time the gunners waited till the birds had been in shut proximity earlier than opening hearth. The gun jammed after solely 12 birds had been killed and the rest scattered earlier than any extra may very well be shot.[8] No extra birds had been sighted that day.[1]

Within the days that adopted, Meredith selected to maneuver additional south, the place the birds had been “reported to be pretty tame”,[11] however there was solely restricted success regardless of his efforts.[1] By the fourth day of the marketing campaign, military observers famous that “every pack appears to have its personal chief now—a giant black-plumed chicken which stands absolutely six ft excessive and retains watch whereas his mates perform their work of destruction and warns them of our method”.[12] At one stage Meredith even went as far as to mount one of many weapons on a truck, a transfer that proved to be ineffective, because the truck was unable to achieve on the birds, and the trip was so tough that the gunner was unable to fireplace any photographs.[1] By 8 November, six days after the primary engagement, 2,500 rounds of ammunition had been fired.[6] The variety of birds killed is unsure: one account estimates that it was 50 birds,[6] however different accounts vary from 200 to 500, the latter determine being offered by the settlers. Meredith’s official report famous that his males had suffered no casualties.[1]

Summarising the culls, ornithologist Dominic Serventy commented:

The machine-gunners’ goals of level clean hearth into serried plenty of Emus had been quickly dissipated. The Emu command had evidently ordered guerrilla techniques, and its unwieldy military quickly cut up up into innumerable small models that made use of the army gear uneconomic. A crestfallen area power subsequently withdrew from the fight space after a few month.[13]

On 8 November, members within the Australian House of Representatives mentioned the operation.[6] Following the damaging protection of the occasions within the native media,[14] that included claims that “just a few” emus had died,[4] Pearce withdrew the army personnel and the weapons on 8 November.[4][6][15][16]

After the withdrawal, Main Meredith in contrast the emus to Zulus and commented on the hanging manoeuvrability of the emus, even whereas badly wounded.

If we had a army division with the bullet-carrying capability of those birds it will face any military on the planet … They’ll face machine weapons with the invulnerability of tanks. They’re like Zulus whom even dum-dum bullets couldn’t cease.[12]

Second try

In November 1932, throughout parliamentary question time, Prime Minister Joseph Lyons (pictured) was mockingly requested by Lang Labor MP Rowley James whether or not a medal can be struck for the troopers.[17]

After the withdrawal of the army, the emu assaults on crops continued. Farmers once more requested for assist, citing the new climate and drought that introduced emus invading farms within the 1000’s. James Mitchell, the Premier of Western Australia lent his robust assist to renewal of the army help. On the similar time, a report from the Base Commander was issued that indicated 300 emus had been killed within the preliminary operation.[16]

Performing on the requests and the Base Commander’s report, by 12 November the Minister of Defence permitted a resumption of army efforts.[16] He defended the choice within the Senate, explaining why the troopers had been essential to fight the intense agricultural risk of the big emu inhabitants.[4] Though the army had agreed to lend the weapons to the Western Australian authorities on the expectation that they would supply the mandatory folks, Meredith was as soon as once more positioned within the area as a result of an obvious lack of skilled machine gunners within the state.[1]

See Also

Taking to the sector on 13 November 1932, the army discovered a level of success over the primary two days, with roughly 40 emus killed. The third day, 15 November, proved to be far much less profitable, however by 2 December the troopers had been killing roughly 100 emus per week. Meredith was recalled on 10 December, and in his report he claimed 986 confirmed kills with 9,860 rounds, at a price of precisely 10 rounds per confirmed kill. As well as, Meredith claimed precisely 2,500 wounded birds had additionally died from their accidents.[1] In assessing the success of the cull, an article within the Coolgardie Miner on 23 August 1935 reported that though the usage of machine weapons had been “criticised in lots of quarters, the strategy proved efficient and saved what remained of the wheat”.[18]


Regardless of the issues encountered with the cull, the farmers of the area as soon as once more requested army help in 1934, 1943, and 1948, solely to be turned down by the federal government.[1][19] As a substitute, the bounty system that had been instigated in 1923 was continued, and this proved to be efficient: 57,034 bounties had been claimed over a six-month interval in 1934.[6]

By December 1932, phrase of the Emu Conflict had unfold, reaching the United Kingdom. Some conservationists there protested the cull as “extermination of the uncommon emu”.[20] Dominic Serventy and Hubert Whittell, the eminent Australian ornithologists, described the “conflict” as “an try on the mass destruction of the birds”.[21][22][23]

All through 1930 and onward, exclusion barrier fencing turned a preferred technique of conserving emus out of agricultural areas (along with different vermin, equivalent to dingoes and rabbits).[24][12]

In November 1950, Hugh Leslie raised the problems of emus in federal parliament and urged Military Minister Josiah Francis to launch a amount of .303 ammunition from the military for the usage of farmers. The minister permitted the discharge of 500,000 rounds of ammunition.[25]


In 2019, a musical adaptation of the story was workshopped in Melbourne by playwright Simeon Yialeloglou and composer James Courtroom.[26] An action-comedy movie, titled The Emu Conflict, premiered at Monster Fest on 22 October 2023.[27][28] One other action-comedy film retelling of the occasions, written by John Cleese, Monty Franklin, Rob Schneider, Camilla Cleese, and Jim Jefferies, was aiming to start manufacturing in 2023 or 2024.[29][27][needs update]

See additionally


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Johnson, Murray (2006). “‘Feathered foes’: soldier settlers and Western Australia’s ‘Emu Conflict’ of 1932″. Journal of Australian Research. 30 (88): 147–157. doi:10.1080/14443050609388083. ISSN 1444-3058. S2CID 144598286.[page needed]
  2. ^ Shuttlesworth, Dorothy Edwards (1967). The Wildlife of Australia and New Zealand. University of Michigan Press. p. 69.
  3. ^ Gill, Frank B. (2007). Ornithology (third ed.). Macmillan. p. xxvi. ISBN 978-0-7167-4983-7.
  4. ^ a b c d ‘Emu War’ defended”. The Argus. Canberra. 19 November 1932. p. 22.
  5. ^ a b c d “Rain Scatters Emus”. The Argus. Perth. 18 October 1932. p. 7.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Robin, Libby; Joseph, Leo; Heinshohn, Rob (2009). Boom and Bust: Bird Stories For a Dry Country. CSIRO Publishing. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-643-09606-6.
  7. ^ “Over the Speakers Chair”. The Canberra Times. Canberra. 19 November 1932. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  8. ^ a b Burton, Adrian (1 August 2013). “Tell me, mate, what were emus like?”. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 11 (6): 336. Bibcode:2013FrEE…11..336B. doi:10.1890/1540-9295-11.6.336. ISSN 1540-9309.
  9. ^ Arthur, Jay Mary (2003). The Default Country: A Lexical Cartography of Twentieth-century Australia. UNSW Press. pp. 123–124. ISBN 978-0-86840-542-1.
  10. ^ “Machine Guns Sent Against Emu Pests”. The Argus. Perth. 3 November 1932. p. 2.
  11. ^ West Australian, 4 March 1932, quoted in Johnson (2006), p. 152.
  12. ^ a b c Particular Correspondent (5 July 1953). “New Strategy in a War on the Emu”. Sunday Herald. p. 13.
  13. ^ John P. Rafferty; Richard Pallardy, eds. (2009). “casuariiform”. Encyclopedia Britannica. Archived from the original on 5 February 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
  14. ^ “Elusive Emus”. The Argus. Perth. 5 November 1932. p. 4.
  15. ^ “War on Emus”. The Argus. 10 November 1932. p. 8.
  16. ^ a b c “Emu War Again”. The Canberra Occasions. 12 November 1932. p. 1.
  17. ^ “Questions in Representatives”. The West Australian. 9 November 1932.
  18. ^ “Another “Emu War”?”. Coolgardie Miner. 23 August 1935. Retrieved 9 December 2019 – through Trove.
  19. ^ “Request to Use Bombs to Kill Emus”. The Mail. Perth. 3 July 1943. p. 12 – through Trove.
  20. ^ Jenkins, C.F.H. (1988). The Wanderings of an Entomologist. Cornell University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7316-2888-9.
  21. ^ Serventy, Dominic Louis; Hubert Massey Whittell (1948). A Handbook of the Birds of Western Australia (with the exception of the Kimberley Division). Patersons Press; Unique: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 63.
  22. ^ Gore, Jasper Garner (2 November 2016). “Looking Back: Australia’s Emu Wars”. Australian Geographic. Archived from the unique on 21 April 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  23. ^ Crew, Bec (4 August 2014). “The Great Emu War: In which some large, flightless birds unwittingly foiled the Australian Army”. Scientific American Blogs. Archived from the original on 8 February 2023. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  24. ^ McKnight, Tom (July 1969). “Barrier Fencing for Vermin Management in Australia”. Geographical Evaluate. 59 (3): 330–347. Bibcode:1969GeoRv..59..330M. doi:10.2307/213480. JSTOR 213480.
  25. ^ “Control of emus”. Coolgardie Miner. 30 November 1950. Archived from the original on 4 April 2023.
  26. ^ “Grassroots 2019”. Residence Grown. Archived from the original on 7 December 2022. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  27. ^ a b Shepherd, Tory (6 October 2023). “Australia’s emu war: John Cleese outrun in race to shoot movie of how flightless birds thwarted army’s machine guns”. The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 October 2023.
  28. ^ “Trailer Drops for Monster Fest 2023 Official Selection THE EMU WAR”. Monster Fest. 8 September 2023. Retrieved 9 October 2023.
  29. ^ “British and US comedy legends bring bizarre chapter of Australian history to big screen”. 8 March 2021. Archived from the original on 31 July 2022. Retrieved 16 June 2021.

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