As a history major, I thought it would be fun to share with you one of my favorite historical events of all time.
The year was 1932. The world was experiencing a global economic crisis, Australia included. The majority of the country’s population lived on homesteads and made their living by farming.
Unfortunately for them, some 2,000 recently emigrated emu came to rely on the people’s farming.
The emu migrated from the coastal regions to the inland to breed. When they arrived, the massive birds found fields full of wheat crops basically sitting on a silver platter for them.
Obviously, the farmers were not too happy about this as they were essentially starving. Farming had already been difficult in the region, and now they had to deal with massive birds running around eating their wheat and destroying their fences.
On top of that, the Australian government was not providing the people with subsidies as they had promised.
And then the fun really began.
Several ex-soldiers turned farmers decided they needed to talk with the Minister of Defense, Sir George Pearce, for more forceful tactics to get rid of the emu problem..
And yes, that’s right, the solution the men came up with was to go to war with the emu.
The ex-soldiers were given two machine guns by the Australian government and were put in charge of culling the emu population.
So, in November of 1932, a government funded anti-emu militia group set out to slaughter some birds.
Funny enough, the people in charge devised ambush plans in order to maximize the amount of birds killed in one “battle”.
One such endeavor was attempted near a local dam where an estimated 1,000 emu were gathered.
The soldiers were quiet, patiently waiting for the birds to get closer. Then, BANG! BANG! BANG! The machine gun they brought with them fired off, killing hundreds of birds!
Or so they thought…
Unfortunately for them, the machine gun jammed after less than a hundred rounds of ammunition were fired and all the emu, minus 12 who tragically lost their lives in the battle (RIP), fled out of sight.
This humiliating defeat was not an uncommon occurrence for the Australian emu death squad.
After six days of war, the group had fired 2,500 rounds of ammunition and only had 50 dead emu to show for it. Sir George Pearce disbanded the militant group following negative media coverage, and the government looked into other solutions for dealing with the emu crisis.
The Great Emu War is possibly the funniest occurrence in human history.
With that, the first History lesson with Caleb is over, thanks for reading!