The Great Emu War


Dylan Maynard, Reporter

In 1932, Australia declared war on emus. By war I mean they used actual guns on them.

What did the emus do to deserve armed combat?

Western Australian farmers had been facing hard times with their crops following the Great Depression, and their difficulties increased tenfold with the arrival of some 20,000 emus migrating inland during their breeding season. The farmers relayed their concerns to the government, which called upon a deputation of ex-soldiers from the first World War, who requested the use of machine guns to fight off the emus.

A copy of text from a eye witness, ornithologist D.L. Serventy: “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.”