Emu Working Group Hatched

Publish Date: 3 April 2023

The next steps are being taken in relation to the future of the emu population on Mount Wycheproof.

As the Buloke Shire Council continues to work alongside other stakeholder groups and the community to implement the Mount Wycheproof Emu Management Plan, a working group is being developed to move the plan forward in a truly harmonious way.

To ensure that the emu population receives appropriate funding and care, a recent on-country meeting was held on Mount Wycheproof, with participation from Council, Traditional Owners, State Government agencies, Friends of Mount Wycheproof, Landcare, and community members. The group collectively resolved to establish a team representative of all stakeholders to oversee the welfare of the emus.  

The emu population holds a sacred and revered position among Traditional Owners, with many identifying the emu as their totem or holding deep respect and admiration for the species. Currently, the emus are being cared for by local volunteer community members, with Council serving as the Committee of Management providing the volunteers support and site maintenance.

During the recent consultation period on the Mount Wycheproof Emu Management Plan, led by the Council, the majority of the feedback received expressed a desire to preserve the emu population, while taking into consideration the financial limitations of the current climate.

The supportive and responsible sentiment is a testament to the commitment and dedication of all stakeholders involved in the project. It reflects a shared understanding of the importance of preserving the natural habitat and cultural significance of the emu population while operating within budgetary constraints.

Buloke Shire Mayor, Cr Alan Getley has been buoyed by the on country meeting and that with everyone pulling in the same direction, a great outcome can be achieved.

“This has been a high-profile situation for everyone to deal with, but Council has always had the wellbeing of the emus at the centre of any process. In listening to our community there is certainly an appetite to ensure the emus remain on the mountain as a tourism and educational opportunity. However, we have also heard that our community don’t expect to be footing the bill for the emus. Council is pleased to work alongside other stakeholders to secure appropriate funding that will preserve the birds and enhance the experience in visiting the area, whilst ensuring cultural sensitivities are observed and adhered to”.

Traditional Owners attending at the Mount Wycheproof meeting were represented by Uncle Bobby Nicholls, grandson of the late Pastor Sir Douglas Nicholls who himself lived in Wycheproof and by Uncle Danny Kelly. Between them, Uncle Bobby and Uncle Danny represent approx. 2,000 descendants of the Wemba Wamba, Barapa Barapa and Wergaia peoples.

Uncle Bobby gave a Welcome to Country for all persons, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people at the meeting.

“We look forward to making the Mount and its sacred emus into assets worthy of educational and cultural study and research, as well as being a focus for tourism and the cultural history of this special area. This can only be of exceptional benefit to the peoples and to the businesses of this Shire”, Uncle Bobby said.

Expressions of Interest are now open for anyone interested in joining the Mount Wycheproof Emu Management Working Group. All details are available here. 

On Country Meeting 27 March 2023