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Dec 09

The Emu War of 1932

In 1932, military personnel were brought in to conduct a cull of emus which Western Australian farmers claimed were destroying their crops. The soldiers were armed with machine guns. However, the Australian army wasn’t as successful as they first expected:

“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.”

On one sortie, a plan to trap and kill 1,000 emus resulted in only 12 deaths. On another sortie, the army used 2,500 rounds of ammunition to take out 50 birds. It became known as The Emu War. (Why did we not learn about this in school?)

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