anonymous asked:

No Australian I know wants to talk about the Great Emu War. Could you give me some insight?

Okay, memes aside, the issue with the Emus is that during the Great Depression, Australian farmers were incentivized to grow more wheat (they were never actually given those incentives though), and this meant a lot of cleared land and artificial water supplies. In 1932 the native emus noticed the good habitat, so roughly 20,000 emus went to the farmland. These emus were pests, eating food, knocking down fences, and so on. The farmers complained to the Australian government who deployed WWI veterans with two Lewis guns in a population cull, believing it would solve the problem and serve as good drill for the Australian machine gunners. Heavy rains scattered the emu population, but Major Meredith was undeterred, attempting to use the Lewis guns on large concentrations of the birds. This was not very effective, the emus would scatter and the guns would jam. Two operations on the 2nd and 4th of November killed only a few dozen of the birds. The Lewis guns couldn’t effectively be mounted on motor vehicles which could not keep up with the fast birds. The emus adapted quickly to the Australians, with large black-plumed males keeping watch and shouting a cry of alarm when the military came near, which made further deployment ineffective. Even when wounded the birds survived thanks to their large mass, and the operation was called off. Later that month Meredith was redeployed, and this time he was far more successful, killing roughly 100 emus a week until 2 December. Eventually, the government decided to instead offer a bounty program for emus, which was much more effective in culling their numbers.

So it’s not really a war, just an unsuccessful population cull, albeit a rip-roaringly funny one. The media at the time cracked jokes about “The Great Emu War.” praising the birds who were clear masters of guerilla tactics. This incident would be rediscovered in the mid 2010′s and became a notable meme that made its way around the internet, leading to such gems as this one:

So there you have it, a short military operation that became a part of meme culture. Your Aussie friends might not even know about this, or they might think that you’re trying to insult their home country, but there’s the story.

Thanks for the question, Anon.

SomethingLikeALawyer, Hand of the King

Countries Reacting to Australia's Emu War
  • England, on the phone: oh Australia, you finally picked up. I'm thinking of having diner with the fam, do you want to come- ... what is that noise??
  • Australia: huh? Oh just a bunch of bloody, motherfucking Emus charging towards my direction to try and kill me the third time~
  • England: ... why?
  • Australia: well, long story short, they were disturbing some people and I'm currently in a war against them.
  • England: ... is that gun noises??
  • Australia: huh? Oh yeah, it is. I was nearly pecked to death, so this war has escalated to death con.3. Oh, by the way, I would love to come for diner! I'll bring you a couple of these bloody, shitty, motherfuckers for diner, if you want~?
  • England: Australia, please!!
Reminder to every Non-Indigenous Australian.

I’m a young Gumbayngirr woman. I want to say ‘We’ but I’m going to point out who exactly each time.

You live on a tribe’s Country*. It always has been and always will be Indigenous Country.
(Country: to Indigenous people are their ancestral, spiritual homeland where they belong to the Land and share a deep bond that is really hard to explain)
You live in a nation built on colonial racism. Which is still apparent in everything.
Indigenous Australians owe the British nothing. 
Indigenous Australians are still being oppressed by the government through law restrictions, refusing Indigenous sovereignty, not acknowledging the past, willful amnesia, the entire education system, making loopholes in policies making it hard for Indigenous people to get jobs, negative representation, not stopping racism when they witness it, unwillingness to make a treaty, making Indigenous people move off their land for mining. 
Indigenous people aren’t always black. That’s the stereotype you support when you don’t believe someone’s Indigenous just because they’re pale.
Every Indigenous person you meet has a Letter of Aboriginality because we have to prove we’re from our ethnic background because Non-Indigenous people can’t be trusted to not stake a claim for Aboriginality, and makes it harder for any families who were removed, thus supporting assimilation.
The government has in the past successfully scared Non-Indigenous people into thinking Indigenous sovereignty was a bad thing because it will take away western value system of property (meaning stolen land in Australia).
For Native Title, Indigenous people must prove lineage and connection to land before settlement. Which is very difficult especially if you were removed off land, 
Indigenous people are 3% of the population. Minority. 
Indigenous people are individuals. Hobbies, cultures, interests, religion, beliefs all varying.
Indigenous people want a treaty.
Multiculturalism in Australia is complete bullshit. It’s goes along the value of ‘we are all the same, therefore no one is different’ completely destroying the idea of Indigenous sovereignty and is the governments move to look more appealing in the eyes of the globe and not impacting white Australians.
Indigenous Australians did not name themselves ‘Aboriginal/Indigenous’ etc. Indigenous people still don’t have their own collaborative name so every time that term is used, it’s reinforcing western domination of classification.
Life is hard. It was hard for immigrant families to settle. It was hard for convicts to survive. It was difficult for Indigenous people to last through massacres, the stealing of children and forced assimilation and inter generational trauma.
Indigenous people have their own internal problems and are trying to change it.
Australian Indigenous academics, artists, novelists are a thing.
LGBTQI+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders exist. Indigenous queer studies is different from mainstream queer studies.
Flora and Fauna Act never actually existed, it was a mindset many White Australians possessed. Hell some still do.
Mission reserves still exist. They’re usually strong communities these days.
There is an Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Because a handful of activists went to Parliament to claim land rights and fight for sovereignty, because Indigenous people are alienated on their own Country.
Indigenous people still face racism, because it is the foundation of Indigenous presence in Australian society.
Australia has had many frontier wars which aren’t discussed in classrooms.
The term ‘Aborigine’ is taken to offence these days. Don’t use it.
Indigenous Australian’s were making bread 15,000 years before it was first done in Egypt.
If you’re of convict descent. You’re a Settler. It’s flexible and debated. Who’s a Settler?
Indigenous people as a whole do not hate white people. It’s the white patriarchy of western values.
To all stupid white people, reverse racism doesn’t exist. If you understood what racism was, you would never say that.

Indigenous people can literally blame all their problems on white privilege. 

If you don’t believe me or want to argue, you lack education about Australia. And is honestly the reason we’re like this. I don’t want to point this out to just White Australians, because we get racism off every one. I didn’t put sources because I want people to do their own research. People need to educate themselves and stop depending on others to do it for them. You can start by googling what is ‘Imperalism’ and ‘Colonisation’ and comparing the two and how that relates to ‘Nationalism’ then search Aborigine Protection Board 1869 (Vic) and try to find out why this happened in the first place. And if you’re feeling lucky try Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu.


1. Australia is as wide as the distance between London to Moscow.
2. The biggest property in Australia is bigger than Belgium.
3. More than 85% of Australians live within 50km of the coast.
4. In 1880, Melbourne was the richest city in the world.
5. Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman, earns $1 million every half hour, or $598 every second.
6. In 1892, a group of 200 Australians unhappy with the government tried to start an offshoot colony in Paraguay to be called ‘New Australia’.
7. The first photos from the 1969 moon landing were beamed to the rest of the world from Honeysuckle Tracking Station, near Canberra.
8. Australia was the second country in the world to allow women to vote (New Zealand was first).
9. Each week, 70 tourists overstay their visas.
10. In 1856, stonemasons took action to ensure a standard of 8-hour working days, which then became recognised worldwide.
11. Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke set a world record for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. Hawke later suggested that this was the reason for his great political success.
12. The world’s oldest fossil, which is about 3.4 billion years old, was found in Australia.
13. Australia is very sparsely populated: The UK has 248.25 persons per square kilometre, while Australia has only 2.66 persons per square kilometre.
14. Australia’s first police force was made up of the most well-behaved convicts.
15. Australia has the highest electricity prices in the world.
16. There were over one million feral camels in outback Australia, until the government launched the $19m Feral Camel Management Program, which aims to keep the pest problem under control.
17. Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia (mostly for meat production).
18. Qantas once powered an interstate flight with cooking oil.
19. Per capita, Australians spend more money on gambling than any other nation.
20. In 1832, 300 female convicts mooned the governor of Tasmania. It was said that in a “rare moment of collusion with the Convict women, the ladies in the Governor’s party could not control their laughter.”
21. Australia is home to the longest fence in the world. It is 5,614 km long, and was originally built to keep dingoes away from fertile land.
22. Australia was one of the founding members of the United Nations.
23. Melbourne is considered the sporting capital of the world, as it has more top level sport available for its citizens than anywhere else. Narrabri, NSW is Australia’s sportiest town.
24. Before the arrival of humans, Australia was home to megafauna: three metre tall kangaroos, seven metre long goannas, horse-sized ducks, and a marsupial lion the size of a leopard. It is theorised that it was also covered in rainforest before humans applied a burning style of hunting.
25. Kangaroos and emus cannot walk backward, one of the reasons that they’re on the Australian coat of arms.
26. Speaking of, Australia is one of the only countries where we eat the animals on our coat of arms.
27. If you visited one new beach in Australia every day, it would take over 27 years to see them all.
28. Melbourne has the world’s largest Greek population outside of Athens.
29. The Great Barrier Reef is the planet’s largest living structure.
30. And it has it’s own postbox!
31. The male platypus has strong enough venom to kill a small dog.
32. And when the platypus was first sent to England, it was believed the Australians had played a joke by sewing the bill of a duck onto a rat.
33. Before 1902, it was illegal to swim at the beach during the day.
34. A retired cavalry officer, Francis De Grootstole the show when the Sydney Harbour Bridge officially opened. Just as the Premier was about to cut the ribbon, De Groot charged forward on his horse and cut it himself, with his sword. The ribbon had to be retied, and De Groot was carted off to a mental hospital. He was later charged for the cost of one ribbon.
35. Australia has 3.3x more sheep than people.
36. Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim at Cheviot Beach, and was never seen again.
37. Australia’s national anthem was 'God Save The King/Queen’ until 1984.
38. Wombat poop is cube shaped! This helps it mark its territory.
39. European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per capita than any other society in history.
40. The Australian Alps receive more snowfall than Switzerland.
41. A kangaroo is only one centimetre long when it is born.
42. Sir John Robertson, a five-time premier of NSW in the 1800s, began every morning with half a pint of rum. He said: “None of the men who in this country have left footprints behind them have been cold water men.”
43. The Box jellyfish has killed more people in Australia than stonefish, sharks and crocodiles combined.
44. Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world.
45. The average Aussie drinks 96 litres of beer per year.
46. 63% of Australians are overweight.
47. Australia is ranked second on the Human Development Index (based on life expectancy, income and education).
48. In 2005, security guards at Canberra’s Parliament House were banned from calling people 'mate’. It lasted one day.
49. In Australia, it is illegal to walk on the right-hand side of a footpath.
50. Australia is the only continent in the world without an active volcano.
51. Aussie Rules footy was originally designed to help cricketers to keep fit in the off-season.
52. The name 'Kylie’ came from an Aboriginal hunting stick, similar to the boomerang.
53. 91% of the country is covered by native vegetation.
54. The largest-ever victory in an international football match was when Australia beat American Samoa 31-0 in 2001.
55. There are 60 designated wine regions in Australia.
56. Melbourne has been ranked the world’s most liveable city for the past three years.
57. If all the sails of the Opera House roof were combined, they would create a perfect sphere. The architect was inspired while eating an orange.
58. Australia is home to 20% of the world’s poker machines.
59. Half of these are found in New South Wales.
60. Moomba, Australia’s largest free festival, held in Melbourne, means 'up your bum’ in many Aboriginal languages.
61. No native Australian animals have hooves.
62. The performance by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the 2000 Olympics opening ceremony was actually a prerecording- of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
63. The wine cask (goon sack) is an Australian invention
64. So is the selfie.
65. Durack, Australia’s biggest electorate, is larger in size than Mongolia.
66. The world’s first compulsory seat belt law was put into place in Victoria in 1970.
67. Each year, Brisbane hosts the world championships of cockroach racing.
68. In 1932, the Australian military waged war on the emu population of Western Australia. Embarrassingly, they lost.
69. Canberra was created in 1908 as a compromise when Sydney and Melbourne both wanted to be the capital city.
70. A gay bar in Melbourne won the right to ban women from the premises, because they made the men uncomfortable.
71. In 1992, an Australian gambling syndicatebought almost all the number combinations in a Virginia lottery, and won. They turned a $5m purchase into a $27m win.
72. Eucalyptus oil is highly flammable, meaning gum trees may explode if ignited, or in bushfires.
73. In 1975, Australia had a government shutdown, which ended with the Queen firing everyone and the government starting again.
74. A bearded Australian was removed from a darts match in the UK, after the audience started chanting 'Jesus!’ at him, distracting the players.
75. There have been instances of wallabiesgetting high after breaking into opium crops, then running around and making what look like crop circles.
76. An Australian man once tried to sell New Zealand on eBay.
77. In 1940, two aircraft collided in midair, in NSW. Instead of crashing, the two planes became stuck together and made a safe landing.
78. The male lyrebird, which is native to Australia, can mimic the calls of over 20 other birds. If that’s not impressive enough, he can also perfectly imitate the sound of a camera, chainsaw and car alarm.
79. Some shopping centres and restaurants play classical music in their car park to deter teenagers from loitering at night.
80. Despite sharing the same verbal language, Australian, British and American sign languageare all completely different languages.
81. In 1979, debris from NASA’s space station 'Skylab’ crashed in Esperance, WA. The town then fined NASA $400 for littering.
82. There have been no deaths in Australia from a spider bite since 1979.
83. There currently a chlamydia outbreak among koala species, which has led to a 15% drop in koala populations.
84. In NSW, there is a coal fire beneath the ground which has been burning for 5,500 years.
85. An Australian election TV debate was rescheduled so it didn’t conflict with the finale of reality cooking show Masterchef.
86. Chinese explorers travelled to Australia long before Europeans arrived. As early as the 1400s, sailors and fisherman came to Australia for sea-cucumbers and to trade with Indigenous peoples.
87. The first European to visit Australia was Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon, in 1606. More Dutch explorers visited the country over the next hundred years, plotting maps and naming it 'New Holland’.
88. Captain James Cook first landed on Australia’s east coast in 1770. In 1788, the British returned with eleven ships to establish a penal colony. Within days of The First Fleet’s arrival and the raising of the British flag, two French ships arrived, just too late to claim Australia for France.

if anyone has a source for this, please add it!


NerdyandQuirky has done a cool history video about THE EMU WAR! Learn all about this bizarre moment in Australian history (and it also has my voice in it briefly I guess).