Marree Man: The enduring mystery of a giant outback figure

This week marks 20 years since a helicopter pilot flying over central Australia spotted the outline of a giant man drawn into the earth.

The 4.2km (2.5 miles) tall figure, on a remote plateau in South Australia, is often thought to depict an Aboriginal hunter.

Dubbed Marree Man after a nearby town, it is one of the world’s largest designs to be etched into the ground.

But mystery surrounds who created it – and why.

Earlier this week, Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith offered a $5,000 Australian dollar (£2,800; $3,700) reward for any information about the artwork’s origins.

“How has it been kept secret for 20 years?” he said on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Monday.

‘Professionally done’

Marree Man has been a subject of fascination since its discovery in the desert about 700km north of Adelaide.

It has gained popularity on tourism flights because it is too large to be viewed from the ground.

Map

With an outline measuring a total of 28km, Marree Man had an initial depth of about 35cm (14 inches), according to local media reports.

Locals believe it portrays an Aboriginal man carrying a woomera – a throwing stick – in his left hand.

Marree publican Phil Turner says he is convinced that its creator, or creators, were “professionals” who possibly used GPS technology.

“Whoever did the outline marked it out with bamboo nursery skewers at every 10m,” Mr Turner told the BBC.

“If you didn’t have the co-ordinates, you would have no idea if you were standing in his left toe or his elbow. Considering GPS technology was in its infancy at the time, it is an absolutely remarkable feat.”

Mr Smith agrees, telling the ABC: “There were no mistakes – it was very professionally done.”

Several theories about its creators have circulated over the years.

An original post for the Marree Man drawingImage copyrightPHIL TURNER
Image captionA stake that was possibly used in Marree Man’s creation, locals say

Pilot Trevor Wright, the first to see Marree Man on 26 June 1998, says he spotted it by chance. But anonymous faxes were also sent to local businesses and media at the time, to inform them of Marree Man’s existence.

Some suspected it was the work of American artists because the faxes used US spelling and references. A plaque showing the US flag and Olympic rings was also found at the site.

But others have theorised that those clues were deliberately misleading, with alternative suggestions including local artists and even members of the Australian Army.

‘Mix of opinions’

The Arabana people are the traditional owners of the land on which Marree Man was created.

Arabana Aboriginal Corporation manager Lorraine Merrick said its appearance in 1998 had initially upset some Aboriginal people who viewed it as a desecration of their land.

She said there was “a mix of opinions now”.

However, Ms Merrick said the corporation – which administers the land – recognised that Marree Man had become an icon.

“It’s there now and you can’t turn back the clock,” she told the BBC. “So for us it’s about working out a clear strategy for its future.”

Marree Man has faded over the years, but locals, with the approval of the Arabana people, used machinery to help to restore it in 2016.

“Maybe the mystery is part of its attraction, but honestly I don’t have people coming up to me asking who did it or anything like that,” Ms Merrick said.

Is it really healthier to live in the countryside?

But evidence-based research that can help us identify the healthiest environments to live is surprisingly scant. As scientists begin to tease apart the links between well-being and the environment, they are finding that many nuances contribute to and detract from the benefits offered by a certain environment – whether it be a metropolis of millions or a deserted beach.

“What we’re trying to do as a group of researchers around the world is not to promote these things willy-nilly, but to find pro and con evidence on how natural environments – and our increasing detachment from them – might be affecting health and well-being,” says Mathew White, an environmental psychologist at the University of Exeter Medical School.

White and other researchers are revealing that a seemingly countless number of factors determine how our surroundings influence us. These can include a person’s background and life circumstances, the quality and duration of exposure and the activities performed in it.

Generally speaking, evidence suggests that green spaces are good for those of us who live in urban areas. Those who reside near parks or trees tend to enjoy lower levels of ambient air pollution, reduced manmade noise pollution and more cooling effects (something that will become increasingly useful as the planet warms).

Wellington, New Zealand

The research shows that green spaces are good for urban dwellers, which should be welcome news to residents of Wellington, New Zealand (Credit: Getty Images)

Natural spaces are conducive to physical and social activities – both of which are associated with myriad benefits of their own.

Time in nature has been linked to reduced physical markers of stress. When we are out for a stroll or just sitting beneath the trees, our heart rate and blood pressure both tend to go down. We also release more natural ‘killer cells’: lymphocytes that roam throughout the body, hunting down cancerous and virus-infected cells.

Researchers are still trying to determine why this is so, although they do have a number of hypotheses. “One predominate theory is that natural spaces act as a calming backdrop to the busy stimuli of the city,” says Amber Pearson, a health geographer at Michigan State University. “From an evolutionary perspective, we also associate natural things as key resources for survival, so we favour them.”

This does not necessarily mean that urban denizens should all move to the countryside, however.

City residents tend to suffer from more asthma, allergies and depression – but they also tend to be less obese, at a lower suicide risk and are less likely to get killed in an accident

City residents tend to suffer from higher levels of asthmaallergies and depression. But they also tend to be less obese, at a lower risk of suicide and are less likely to get killed in an accident. They lead happier lives as seniors and live longerin general. (Read more aboutfive of the world’s healthiest cities).

City-dwellers live longer than their countryside counterparts and are happier as seniors

City-dwellers live longer than their countryside counterparts and are happier as seniors (Credit: Getty Images)

Although we tend to associate cities with pollution, crime and stress, living in rural locales may entail certain costs as well. Disease-carrying insects and arachnids can detract from the health factor of that otherwise idyllic cabin in Maine, for example.

In other cases, rural pollution poses a major threat. In India, air pollution contributed to the deaths of 1.1 million citizens in 2015 – with rural residents rather than urban ones accounting for 75% of the victims. This is primarily because countryside dwellers are at greater risk of breathing air that is polluted by burning of agricultural fields, wood or cow dung (used for cooking fuel and heat).

Indonesia’s slash and burn-style land clearing likewise causes a blanket of toxic haze that lasts for months and sometimes affects neighbouring countries, including Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Meanwhile, smoke pollution from fires lit in South America and southern Africa has been known to make its way around the entire southern hemisphere. (That said, the air in the southern hemisphere is generally cleaner than in the northern hemisphere – simply because there are fewer people living there).

Pollution can kill more people in the countryside than the cities

Because of practices like agricultural clearing, pollution can kill more people in the countryside than even in cities (Credit: Getty Images)

It’s not just developing countries, either: wildfires in the western US are wreaking havoc on air quality, while pollution from fertilizers used on farms are detracting from air quality in Europe, Russia, China and the US.

What about the idea of that pure mountain air? It’s true that black carbon aerosols and particulate matter pollution tends to be lower at higher altitudes. But trying to move above air pollution may cause other issues.

While people who live in in places 2,500m or higher seem to have lower mortality from cardiovascular disease, stroke and some types of cancers, data indicate that they also seem to be at an elevated risk of death from chronic pulmonary disease and from lower respiratory tract infections. This is likely at least in part because cars and other vehicles operate less efficiently at higher altitudes, emitting greater amounts of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide – which is made even more harmful by the increased solar radiation in such places. Living at a moderate altitude of 1,500 to 2,500 meters, therefore, may be the healthiest choice.

It’s not always true that the higher the altitude, the healthier the place

It’s not always true that the higher the altitude, the healthier the place (Credit: Getty Images)

There is a strong argument to be made for living near the sea – or at least near some body of water

On the other hand, there is a strong argument to be made for living near the sea – or at least near some body of water. Those in the UK who live closer to the ocean, for example, tend to have a better bill of health than those who live inland, taking into account their age and socioeconomic status. This is likely due to a variety of reasons, White says, including the fact that our evolution means we are attracted to the high levels of biodiversity found there (in the past, this would have been a helpful indicator of food sources) and that beaches offer opportunities for daily exercise and vitamin D.

Then there are the psychological benefits. A 2016 study Pearson and her colleagues conducted in Wellington, New Zealand found that residents with ocean views had lower levels of psychological distress. For every 10% increase in how much blue space people could see, the researchers found a one-third point reduction in the population’s average Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (used to predict anxiety and mood disorders), independent of socioeconomic status. Given that finding, Pearson says, “One might expect that a 20 to 30% increase in blue space visibility could shift someone from moderate distress into a lower category.” Pearson found similar results in a follow-up study conducted near the Great Lakes in the US (currently in review), as did White in an upcoming study of Hong Kong residents.

The more ‘blue space’ people saw in their everyday life, the less distress and anxiety

Researchers found that the more ‘blue space’ people saw in their everyday life, the less distress and anxiety they experienced (Credit: Getty Images)

Not everyone can live on the coast, however. So Simon Bell, chair of landscape architecture at the Estonian University of Life Sciences and associate director of the OPENspace Centre at the University of Edinburgh, and his colleagues are testing whether restoring neglected bodies of water throughout Europe can help. They are interviewing residents before and after restoration, including at a rundown beach outside of Tallinn, Estonia and an industrial canal near a Soviet bloc-style apartment complex in Tartu, also Estonia, among other places in Spain, Portugal, Sweden and the UK.

The team’s second analysis of nearly 200 recently redeveloped water sites will allow them to tease out how factors such as climate, weather, pollution levels, smells, seasonality, safety and security, accessibility and more, influence a given water body’s appeal. The ultimate goal, Bell says, is to find “what makes a great blue space.” Once the results are in, he and his colleagues will develop a quality assessment tool for those looking to most effectively restore urban canals, overgrown lakes, former docklands, rivers and other neglected blue spaces to make residents’ lives better.

How much we benefit from even a single visit to the coast depends on a variety of factors

How much we benefit from even a single visit to the coast depends on a variety of factors (Credit: Getty Images)

Still, when it comes to wellbeing, researchers do not know how lakes compare to oceans or how rivers compare to seas. Nor have they compared how beaches in, say, Iceland measure up to those in Florida. What they do know is that complex factors including air and water quality, crowding, temperature and even high and low tides affect how something as seemingly simple as a visit to the beach can influence us.

“There might be a million other important things besides weather and daylight that influence someone in Hawaii versus Finland,” White says.

People who live in less regularly sunny places, like Vermont or Denmark, tend to have higher rates of skin cancer

In terms of health, data also suggest that, counterintuitively, people who live in more intermittently rather than regularly sunny places – Vermont and Minnesota in the US, for example, and Denmark and France – tend to have higher rates of skin cancer, likely because sunscreen is not part of daily routines. (Read more aboutfive countries where people live the longest).

Just as some green and blue spaces may be more beneficial than others, researchers are also coming to realize that the environment’s influence on well-being is not evenly distributed.

People living in lower socioeconomic conditions tend to derive more benefits from natural spaces than wealthy residents, White says. That’s likely because richer people enjoy other health-improving privileges, such as taking holidays and leading generally less stressful lives – a finding with important real-world implications. “Here in the UK, local authorities have a legal obligation to reduce health inequalities. So one way to do that is to improve the park system,” White says. “The poorest will benefit the most.”

A clean, oceanside city like Sydney may be one of the best options

A clean, oceanside city like Sydney may be one of the best options (Credit: Getty Images)

It’s also important to point out that simply moving to a relatively pristine coast or forest will not solve all of our problems. Other life circumstances – losing or gaining a job, marrying or divorcing – have a much greater impact on our health. As White puts it, no matter what environment you’re in, “It’s more important to have a house than to be homeless in a park.”

Bell adds that proximity to nature actually tends to rank low on people’s lists of the most important factors for selecting a place to live, after things like safety, quietness and closeness to key locations like schools and work. But while the benefits of green and blue spaces should not be overplayed on an individual level, they are important for the scale at which they work.

And even so, one takeaway seems obvious: those living in a clean, oceanside city with ready access to nature – think Sydney or Wellington – may have struck the jackpot in terms of the healthiest places to live.

By Rachel Nuwer 1 June 2018

In 1940 two twin-engine airplanes collided mid-air–interlocked, they flew for five miles and landed safely

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In what surely is one of the most bizarre flying incidents ever to have occurred, two British Avro Anson bomber airplanes doing cross-country practice flights in preparation for World War II made sudden impact 3,000 feet above ground in Brocklesby, New South Wales, Australia.

The risk of mid-air collisions is very low, yet the most freakish thing about it was not that they collided, but the fact that the planes jammed precisely one over the other, and as such, interlocked as in a scene from a cartoon, remarkably landing without serious injuries in a paddock near a small farm, terrifying the horses who until that unexpected visit were feasting on the fresh grass, waving their tails, chasing horseflies, and having a blast on a sunny September morning.

And the funniest thing was that the pilot who went through a forced landing, and the plane piggybacking underneath it, was calm as a cucumber, acting as if nothing extraordinary had happened.

“I did everything we’ve been told to do in a forced landing–land as close as possible to habitation or a farmhouse and, if possible, land into the wind. I did all that. There’s the farmhouse, and I did a couple of circuits and landed into the wind. She was pretty heavy on the controls, though!”

Sure she was. One plane had the engines intact. The other one only its wings and controls. Leading Aircraftman (LAC) Leonard G. Fuller, the pilot of the latter, the one on top, who jokingly gave this nonchalant statement to his supervisor Group Captain Arthur “Spud” Murphy right after the incident had, in fact, a grave task at hand to fly them both and take them down.

According to every paper that covered the incident and wrote a story about it–and let’s just say there were many who did report this freakish event for it attracted worldwide media attention and for a few months was all over the news despite the fact that a war was raging on–the pilot, LAC Leonard Graham Fuller, aged 22, from Cootamundra, and LAC Ian Menzies Sinclair, 27, from Glen Innes, acting as his navigator, took off in their Avro Anson number N4876 from the flying training school ground of the Royal Australian Air Force near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

The same morning on September 29, 1940, and just right after them, 19-year-old LAC Jack Inglis Hewson from Newcastle, Australia, assisted by his 27-year-old navigator LAC Hugh Gavin Fraser from Melbourne, left the ground in their L9162 aircraft.

Both were supposed to leave the airbase, make a joined round trip over Corowa and Narrandera, and return from where they took off. Unfortunately,somewhere around 10.45 a.m., the planes lost track of each other and Fuller’s plane smashed on the top of the other in what he later described, according to The Daily News and their story from October 2, 1940, “Risks life to save villagers,” a sound of a “grinding crash and a bang as roaring propellers struck each other and bit into the engine cowlings.”

The planes were now jammed tightly, his engines blew off almost instantly, but the ones of the plane underneath were working at full strength. Although Sinclair bailed immediately after the impact, as did Fraser, the navigator from down under, Fuller saw his controls were working and realized he could control the pair of planes at the very moment he saw Hewson jumping from the plane and getting hit by the propellers as he did so.

Amelia Earhart – Aviation Pioneer

The aircraft was losing altitude and was about to start to spin. It was up to him to either jump now or try and take the planes down and save innocent lives that potentially could get lost by unmanned planes crashing down on them.

Good thing he was a skilled pilot, and cool, calm, and collected while everything was going on for he managed to fly 5 miles in search of the best possible place to land the now Siamese-twin-plane, before making an improvised emergency pancake landing in Mr. T. Murphy’s farm 6 miles southwest of Brocklesby. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt in the process. Not even Hewson, whose back was injured when the propeller struck him, and had troubles with his parachute that wouldn’t open until 100 feet off the ground. He slammed so hard on the ground that it left him paralyzed for four months.

In fact, everyone was just fine and Fuller’s plane was in such a good state that was put back into service almost right away.

However, it was not all because of one man’s courage and his unparalleled creative set of piloting skills but a conjoined effort of both that prevented this dual-plane aircraft from spiraling out of control.

Before bailing out, Hewson locked the controls of his plane and raised the engines to full strength right after the impact and said goodbye, for if there was any chance for the planes to belly land, it was to be his belly that would be the first to taste the ground. Without his reasoning and quick reaction, both of the planes were doomed.

But in the end, everything went fine, and this “small” accident in the sky made the small town of Brocklesby famous. Though it is safe to say the horses enjoying the sun that September morning in the nearby paddock where the plane landed and slid for 200 yards were running for their lives petrified, and Mr. T. Murphy was having trouble calming them down and getting them back inside his farm.

The greatest irony was that Fuller, the pilot who showed courage, landing a strange aircraft in an even stranger scenario, died four years later in 1944, when a bus struck and killed him on the spot. He was riding his bike.

 Martin Chalakoski

An Australian railway man saved more than 2 million babies—including his own grandchild—with a simple donation of blood

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James Harrison. Photo by: Australian Red Cross

An Australian man who required blood transfusions to survive surgery as a teenager decided to repay the kindness of strangers by becoming a blood donor himself. Little did he know at the time that his blood contained a rare antibody required for a life-saving medication. By the time he retired from donating this month, James Harrison had saved an amazing estimate of 2.4 million babies!

James Harrison came to blood donation from personal experience. When he was 14 years old, he underwent major lung surgery that took hours and required a vast quantity of transfusions—13 units of blood, in fact. He remained hospitalized for three months. So he decided to pay it forward as soon as he could. In Australia, blood donors must be a minimum of 18 years old; so in 1954, when he turned 18, Harrison gave his first units of blood. Despite a fear of needles, he returned to donate every few weeks for a remarkable 60 years.

But the Good Samaritan’s good deed turned out to be more beneficial than he ever could have imagined. In the 1960s, researchers discovered that Harrison’s blood contained a rare antibody used in a medication called Anti-D that helps save babies from a potentially fatal disease. The Australian Red Cross reports that Harrison’s blood has been used in more than 3 million doses of Anti-D since 1967, and that he has helped save the lives of 2.4 million babies, including that of his grandchildren. His daughter, Tracey Mellowship, received the injection and had two healthy babies. The Red Cross called him “the man with the golden arm.”

The Anti-D injections are given to pregnant Rh(D) negative women carrying Rh(D) positive babies, whose blood-type incompatibility can result in miscarriage, brain damage, or even stillbirth, according to the Australian Red Cross. Around 17 percent of Australian women need the injections, which come only from blood plasma from a “tiny pool” of around 160 donors who have the rare antibody that Harrison has. Attempts to make a synthetic version of the medication have so far failed.

Harrison had been donating for a decade when researchers discovered his blood was perfect for their new Anti-D program.

A Man Saved A Condor Years Ago And The Bird Still Flies Back To Say Thanks

On May 11, Harrison, now 81 and retired from his job as a railway administrator, lay back and had his arm strapped and swabbed as he got ready to give his last donation. As always, he looked away from the needle, and gripped a stress ball in his other hand. Medical officials with the Red Cross said it was time for Harrison to retire and save his blood for his own health. He received the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1999 for his service to the Anti-D program. He also made it into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003.

Harrison’s last donation at the Town Hall Blood Donor Center in Sydney was videotaped and shown on the local TV news. (Harrison, ever the proper railway man, wore a tie to the occasion.) Helium balloons above his head had the numbers 1, 1, 7, and 3 to represent the 1,173 times he had donated blood. A half-dozen moms who had benefited from the Anti-D injection program showed up, their babies in their arms, to commemorate the unassuming hero.

“The end of an era,” Harrison, who lives in New South Wales, told the New York Times. “It was sad because I felt like I could keep going.”

Harrison was proud of having helped though not unduly vain about his accomplishment. He hopes the publicity surrounding his retirement will inspire other blood donors to come forward; perhaps one will also carry the rare antibody.  “Saving one baby is good,” Harrison told the New York Times. “Saving two million is hard to get your head around, but if they claim that’s what it is, I’m glad to have done it.”

 E.L. Hamilton

Australia’s sea of crimson claws

Australia’s Christmas Island crab migration (Credit: Max Orchard)

(Max Orchard)

The migration starts with the first heavy rains in October, November or December. At that point, there’s enough moisture in the air for the large crustaceans, which can reach up to 11cm across, to make the arduous, five-day journey from their homes in wet inland forests to the Indian Ocean, covering up to 9km along the way.

Crab migration (Credit: Parks Australia)

(Parks Australia)

With so many of the creatures on the move, Parks Australia works before and during the migration to protect the crustaceans by closing roads, building fences and constructing underground tunnels. Drivers are encouraged to stop for the crabs.

Australia’s Christmas Island crab migration (Credit: Tracy Wilson)

(Tracy Wilson)

Upon reaching the sand, the male crabs dig burrows and fight each other for ownership of the shelters. When the female crabs arrive (usually five to seven days after the first males), they begin to mate, and the females stay in their beachside burrows until the last quarter of the lunar cycle. The females always wait for the first day of the last quarter – regardless of when they started the migration – to spawn and release their eggs into the sea. Researchers speculate that since this phase of the moon has the least sea level change between high and low tides, the eggs have higher chances of survival.

Australia’s Christmas Island crab migration (Credit: Justin Gilligan)

(Justin Gilligan)

This year, the possible spawning dates (and dates of the quarter moon) are 28 November or 28 December, so the initial migration will happen seven to 18 days before, depending on the weather. The crabs tend to be on the move in the morning and early evening when the air is cooler, but any dry spells will halt the migration until wetter weather prevails.

Follow the Parks Australia blog or the Christmas Island Tourism Facebook page to get an alert at the first signs of the cruising crustaceans.

Australia’s Christmas Island crab migration (Credit: Parks Australia)

(Parks Australia)

The Great Emu War: When the Australian government launched an assault, they found themselves outmaneuvered

It wasn’t the first time a war has taken the name of a creature.

In 1859, the Pig War broke out between the United States and Britain over the boundary running through Canada. A British infantryman had shot a pig that happened to be on American soil. Local American soldiers responded by gathering on the border and awaiting the next move from the British side. Eventually, it died down after the British side apologized, with the pig listed as the single casualty.

During the 1960s, Brazil and France also entered into conflict following a dispute over who claimed the right to hunt an area for lobsters. Nobody was hurt thankfully, but the dispute had its name: the Lobster War.

Fallow caused by emus, which cleared land. and additional water supplies, during 1932, prompting the cries for an Emu War.

The stakes, however, were raised considerably in the Land Down Under. In this case, war was declared against the emu itself.

It all began following the end of World War I, when the Australian government’s solution to the challenge of finding employment for soldiers returning home was to offer them money and land to grow wheat in the West. Subsequently, more than 5,000 veterans benefited from the action–or attempted to.

Unfortunately, the country was struggling through one drought season after another, and then came the Great Depression. Farmers in the West found they had to face one more unanticipated problem: a horde of around 20,000 indigenous emu birds.

Emu head and upper neck, Photo by William Warby – Flickr / CC-BY 2.0

The unique flightless birds originally thrived in central parts of Australia, but in search of water during the drought seasons, they had also moved to the West. To their own surprise, the migrating emus stumbled upon quite a treat: vast fields of wheat. At ease, the vast flocks tore down fences in order to feast in the fields. In particular, they ventured into marginal farming lands such as those around Chandler and Walgoolan.

Not only did emus ravish the farmer’s crops, the gaps they left in fences also invited the biggest Australian pest of all, the rabbit, to come calling.

Emu on a postage stamp of Australia issued 1942

The emu problem was so overwhelming that farmers traveled to Canberra and demanded help from the government. George Pearce, who served as Defense Minister at that point, readily agreed to send troops of soldiers in order to help take care of the birds, reasoning that the exercise would make great target practice for the troops. As for the farmers, they had to agree to provide food and accommodation for the soldiers, and also pay the costs for ammunition.

The “Great Emu War” was set to begin in October 1932. Military involvement was to be led by Major G.P.W. Meredith, who had served in the Royal Australian Artillery. His soldiers were armed with Lewis guns and light machines from World War I. At their disposal, 10,000 rounds of ammunition.

Heavy rainfall delayed the operation until November 2nd, when the troops were quickly deployed at multiple points with orders to tackle the emu hoard, which was now loosely roaming over a vast area. Some newspaper accounts said that soldiers wanted to collect emu skins so that their feathers could be used to produce some hats for light horsemen.

Sir George Pearce was later referred to in Parliament as the “Minister of the Emu War” by Senator James Dunn.

It soon became clear that everyone had grossly underestimated the emu. Despite considering a number of tactics, including trying to lure bigger groups of emus into an ambush, all attempts to shoot the birds had poor results.

The emus were so fast that they would quickly scatter in the wilderness, not missing a single feather. The struggles to shoot the birds continued in the following days but, despite unloading hundreds of bullets, less than a dozen emus were killed.

As reports suggest, by November 9th, almost a week after the first engagement, some 2,500 rounds of ammunition had been fired, but the number of killed birds remained uncertain. One account suggested it was just 50 birds, and another account estimated in-between 200 and 500 birds. No human casualties, though.

As the emus continually managed to outwit their opponents, Meredith and his men were defeated and retreated to Canberra. That meant and end to the Great Emu War, because when the farmers insisted on more military assistance on the matter, the government refused.

The emus had won.

Emus have three toes on each foot, which is their greatest asset in helping them run fast. Author: FunkMonk / CC-BY 3.0

According to Meredith, who provided a statement to a local paper “they could face machine guns with the invulnerability of tanks.”

More proposals for a war on the emu were to follow not only in the next year, but also in 1943 and 1948. Thankfully, all these proposals were turned down, and other solutions were sought to fix the problems that did not involve mass killings of the birds.

Today, the indigenous bird of Australia is a part of the country’s coat of arms.