The Emu War
First, some notes on accuracy:
I’m not 100% sure on all of these dates (some had two dates listed, some had none and I had to guess based on what happened before and after). I’m pretty sure I’m correct to within a day or two, but the ones I’m least sure about are October 31 (might have been earlier) and November 4 (might have been the 3rd or 5th).
(Update: someone on reddit linked me this photo of the actual vehicle that the emus ran off the road.)
(Update 2: a whole lot of Australians have individually informed me that emus don’t say “tweet” – more like an awful guttural honk-growl.)
Oh, and there was no official surrender ceremony. Just a whole lot of laughter and embarrassment.
Moving on: Aren’t emus great? They look like tiny-headed doofy muppets. I hope they act like tiny-headed doofy muppets. I grew up near deer that looked like Bambi and I can tell you that everything Louis C. K. says about them is true, so for all I know emus might be tiny-headed doofy velociraptors.
They’re as hard to kill, in any case. Seriously, it took more than ten bullets for each kill. Take it from Major C. W. P. Meredith, who was in charge of the operation: “The emu is an amazingly hard bird to kill outright, many carry mortal wounds up to a distance of half a mile. 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.”
What else? Oh! The farmers in the story were veterans. They’d been granted the land for their service in the First World War. After the Emu War had ended (and after a second, just-as-successful one a couple weeks later), the government decided to do what the veteran-farmers had asked for in the first place and give them weapons and ammunition to take care of the emu problem themselves. Between that and a later bounty on emu beaks, they died by the thousands. But don’t worry – they’re still everywhere.
And they’re still awful for crops. One source I found called them “the tough, prolific, gangling marauder of the sand plains whose species, ever since the beginning of agriculture in the State, has invaded, in a frenzy of hunger, some of the finest fields at the time of ripening of the harvest to shear off crops with voracious beaks and to trample with great webbed feet 100 plants into the earth for each one eaten.” Definitely worth reading the whole thing – it’s the funniest newspaper article I’ve ever read. If this is what Australian news is like, color me jealous.
I get my wisdom teeth removed in about an hour, and between the pain and the painkillers I’m not sure I’ll get the next comic up on schedule. But next on the docket is…I guess something about famous con-men, or assassinations, or When The We Thought Radioactivity Was Healthy (working title). I’m also working on transforming the Greek God Family Tree into a poster – if you wanna know when/if it’s done and on sale, join the mailing list! Or just keep coming to this site.