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The Emu Massacre



The year is 1932 in an Australian wheat field, Slowly 20,000 emus start to appear in the horizon line, running towards the wheat fields. The Seventh Heavy Battery of the Royal Australian Artillery, started firing their Lewis Guns. The gun fired about 500–600 rounds per minute. It weighed 28 lb (12.7 kg), only about half as much as a typical medium machine gun of the era. The emus were not easy to defeat; they were able to get shot by even dum-dum bullets and still keep running. The bullets would explode upon contact, shreading their skin and they would slump onto the ground. Both sides called the other “Invader”, both sides fighting with empty stomachs.


Australia is home to Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal peoples, Of course that might not be so obvious in the current colonized Australia. Of course us humans aren't the only inhabitants on this earth and never have been. The Emu birds are another have dealt with the same oppression and violence the indigenous humans have.


The land was stolen from the Aboriginal people and then “Gifted” to Discharged veterans from WW1 to build homes and farms. Around 1929 they were really pushed to start growing wheat especially with the great depression on the horizon.


Emus are endemic to Australia, meaning they are “native and restricted to a certain place.”. They also have migration patterns; the West Australian emus have a bit more “predictable” patterns than the ones that live in the East but it is dictated by the weather, food and breeding season.


So around 1932 while the emus were migrating they ran into a new wheat field and village that wasn't there before. All they knew is that there was a wheat field and they were hungry. They quickly overpowered the veteran farmers and started to eat all the crops.


The farmers requested help from the Australian Government who ordered the Seventh Heavy Battery of the Royal Australian Artillery, led by Major Meredith who stated “If we had a military division with the bullet-carrying capacity of these birds it would face any army in the world ... They can face machine guns with the invulnerability of tanks. They are like Zulus whom even dum-dum bullets could not stop.”


The soldiers armed with two lewis guns and over 10,000 rounds of ammunition went over to Campion (A now abandoned townsite where this took place) under the orders to collect 100 emu skins so that they could be made into hats for the calvary. A common tactic used in massacres and colonization, similar to the $25 a head and 25 cents a scalp order that was called on the native american people.



The soldiers soon learned that the emus were not easy to kill. First off the operation was delayed due to rain which also split the massive hoard of emus into smaller groups.


By 8 November, six days after the first engagement, 2,500 rounds of ammunition had been fired.The number of birds killed is uncertain: one account estimates that it was 50 birds,but other accounts range from 200 to 500, the latter figure being provided by the settlers. Meredith's official report noted that his men had suffered no casualties.

Summarizing the event, ornithologist Dominic Serventy commented:

“The machine-gunners' dreams of point blank fire into serried masses of Emus were soon dissipated. The Emu command had evidently ordered guerrilla tactics, and its unwieldy army soon split up into innumerable small units that made use of the military equipment uneconomic. A crestfallen field force therefore withdrew from the combat area after about a month.”


After the massacre the humans left the town. Hundreds of Emus were killed but thousands survived. Nowadays it's an Emu town, humans might call it a ghost town. it's a part of earth left with a scar of this unnecessary event. Hundreds of Emus and People would have prospered if this land stayed in the care of the animals and indigenous people.





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