The Kangaroo Island Dwarf Emu, a species of the past
Kangaroo Island once had it’s own native emu Dromaius baudinianus, a very similar species was also found in some parts of Tasmania. Discovered by Matthew Flinders in 1802, the emu was much smaller than those found on the Australian mainland and they were very prevalent on the Island, especially around the areas of Nepean Bay and Emu Bay, named after the dwarf emu. When Nicolas Baudin came to Kangaroo Island on his expedition, he collected 3 dwarf emus which were taken back to France and survived until 1822. One was preserved for history and was on display in The Louvre in France for many years. Recently it has been bought back to Kangaroo Island and is on display at the Tourist Information Centre. The last published record of the species was in 1819, and it was certainly extinct by 1836. The demise of this species is believed to be due to major bush fires and the culling of the emus for food, maybe disease from white man or pigs and chickens bought to the island when the people arrived.
Emu Ridge has its very own mainland emu, called Psycho, she is a mascot to the farm being part of the history. Our farm however, is called Emu Ridge for a very different reason, not because of the dwarf emu. A company in Adelaide named FH Faulding and Co were famous for their Emu Brand Eucalyptus oil. As farmers were clearing their land for sheep farming, Fauldings eucalyptus oil supply was declining so they purchased our farm, originally called Windy Ridge in 1923 and renamed it after their famous Emu Brand Eucalyptus oil. They planted plantations of eucalyptus trees to produce more oil and later sold the farm in 1952.
If you would like to know more about our emu and the uses for emu products, have a look at our blog about emu oil, eggs and feathers etc.
(If you would like to read more about these cute friends, see our blog with the full story)
Here’s a few more interesting references: