Wildlife ruffling feathers at Yaraka

All the good oil on the emus entertaining tourists at Yaraka


Life & Style
The inquisitive emus were captured on digital by pub customer and visiting tourist Sam Guzzardi.

The inquisitive emus were captured on digital by pub customer and visiting tourist Sam Guzzardi.

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Two emus walked into a bar in Yaraka the other day. No, they really did.

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So, these two emus walk into a bar and order a couple of long necks.

No, it's not the start of the latest joke, but something (well, the first part anyway) that really happened the other day at Yaraka.

The pair ruffled a few feathers in the tiny western Queensland town recently when they were spied in the bar of the pub, one ready to serve patrons and the other about to pull up a stool.

Visiting tourist Sam Guzzardi quickly captured the evidence on his phone and shared it on social media, bringing plenty of commentary.

"Good to have a long-legged chick behind the bar," said one wag; "They'd be tough old birds," said another.

In fact they're only 11 months old, rescued as nine eggs from an abandoned nest and hatched with the help of an electric blanket by local identity Leanne Byrne.

There has been an attrition rate thanks to their naivety but three of them remain, fondly tolerated by the few residents and sought after by visitors who know about the tranquility and stunning scenery in this part of Queensland.

Read more: In search of the perfect shot

Their surrogate parent, Leanne says the survivors, Kevin, Carol and Mimoo, usually wander down the deserted street for breakfast at Bobalong's (residents Bob and Kathy Long) before waiting for opening time at the hotel.

Publican Gerry Gimblett said there's normally a rope up on the ramp to stop them from entering but it had been left down on this occasion.

"They've been on the verandah before and left a few deposits but this is the first time they've taken that extra step."

Leanne said they were very placid but very ignorant.

"They've started pinching the keys out of my car," she said. "Carol was trying to drink my vodka the other night - I told her she wasn't 18."

Leanne Byrne poses for a photo with one of her feathery babies.

Leanne Byrne poses for a photo with one of her feathery babies.

The trio have been adopted by the town's resident Maremma, a livestock guardian dog.

According to Leanne, they share licks and pecks as they recline together.

"If one of the emus is stuck behind a fence, the Maremma won't come home until we go and rescue it," she said.

Although they roam free across the town common, they haven't shown any inclination to run off with their undomesticated cousins.

"The tourists love them," Leanne said. "All three of the emus love selfies."

It's the latest story from the small town that has always punched above its weight - saving its school building for the community when Education Queensland wanted to sell it off to the highest bidder, lobbying successfully for mobile phone access - driven in part by the Gimblett's love of their adopted town.

The combination of the community's vision, the sealing of the road to Blackall and mobile phone action, as well as the dramatic landscape, has brought a wave of tourism to the area, all of which is bringing plenty of laughs at the hotel.

Gerry said they had just had an amazing few weeks - first a bagpiper piping the national anthem before the deciding State of Origin game was screening, then a harpist played, followed up by a banjo player and a bush poet.

"The emus are just the latest part of the big Yaraka family," she said.

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The story Wildlife ruffling feathers at Yaraka first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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