MDFF 24 March 2018

A Family of Emus


I graduated as a geologist at the beginning of the so called Nickel Boom.|
For the first time in Australia, geologists could take their spouses ‘out bush’, so high was the demand for earth scientists.
Thus there we were, camped in a caravan at a place called Waite Kauri north-east of Leonora in Western Australia.
Our caravan was parked under the shadow of a windmill near a corner of a wire fence.
One morning we were woken by a strange sound. It was an emu family.

Grlmp, grlmp, grlmp!

As we peeked out of a caravan window we saw them bobbing up and down. There was father emu, mother emu and their three teenage emu children.

Bobbing up and down, grlmp, grlmp, grlmp, contemplating the fence which was hindering their morning walk. Bob, bob, bob, grlmp, grlmp, when suddenly father emu took a few steps back and ran towards the fence….. bang, crash. Father emu picked himself up and joined his bobbing family, grlmp, grlmp. Then it was mother’s turn…. A few bobbing steps back, then a run up… bang crash. This went on for an eternity. They had no idea they were being observed. It was a riveting sight. Bob, bob, grlmp, grlmp, a few steps back…. Bang, crash. The whole family took it in turns. Their perseverance was admirable. We thought it would never end, when unexpectedly, grlmp, grlmp, bob, bob, a few steps back, a run up and presto a somersault and there was one of the teenagers picking him(her?) self up on the other side of the fence. Bob, bob, grlmp, grlmp, with a smug grin on its face.

As I said, it took an eternity, but eventually the whole emu family trotted off together into the distance at the other side of the fence.

Despite the fence, this family was able to pursue an activity they had pursued for over 40,000 years.

From time to time, we would come across a bit of the fence with crossed wires. Tangled in the wire would be the remnants of an emu leg. Not all emus had been as lucky as the family we observed.

The erection of wire fences had radically altered the emu’s right to live life as they always had.

How presumptuous of these emus to assume they have rights. Why don’t they get over it and learn to respect these fences?

Nina Simone – I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free…