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Local News

For the emus

Geoff Helisma

The death of a male emu on Brooms Head Road on February 19 was both a call to action and sad news for Lions Club of Clarence – Environmental, which is conducting a campaign to raise awareness of the endangered bird.

Brooms Head resident and artist Jan Brown says she had been “watching” the deceased male emu since November as it nurtured its five chicks. The male incubates the eggs and looks after the chicks, and the family unit can remain intact until the next breeding season.

“When he got killed everybody was devastated,” says Jan.

“I thought I’d make an emu egg; there should be something I can do to create awareness.

“I saw Barbara [Linley from Lions] and I thought if I had a group of eggs it would make a stronger visual impact.”

Jan made five eggs, representing the five chicks, and a miniature nest for the eggs.

“The eggs needed a platform to sit on and the nests are usually one to two metres wide; the nest represents the male that looked after chicks all of those months.”

Serendipitously, Jan used five coils of wire to make the eggs and five coils of wire to make the nest.

“I use copper wire; it’s called copper wire knitting.

“I saw Hawaiian artist Ruth Asawa’s work and thought, wow, how do I do this?”

“Jan gave us this lovely gift for our emu campaign,” says Barbara, “the eggs and nest will be on display at our market stalls.”

Meanwhile, it’s people’s last chance to purchase tickets in the Lions Environmental Easter raffle, drawn on Sunday April 4 – the prize is a one-off photograph of an echidna by Steve Otton.

“There’ll be a stall in River Street, Maclean, on Saturday morning,” says Barbara.

“We’re raising funds for our club to facilitate emu education and prevent their further decline.

“It has been amazing how many people and businesses have approached me to help with our campaign.”

According to Clarence Valley Council, there are fewer than 50 coastal emus remaining along the east coast of Australia and only 36 individuals in the Taloumbi/Tyndale/Pillar Valley region – emus have recently been sighted on Yamba Road between the James Creek Road and Southbank Road intersections.