Redback spiders

Redback spiders are considered one of the most dangerous spiders in Australia.The Redback spider has a neurotoxic venom which is toxic to humans with bites causing severe pain. There is an antivenom for Redback bites which is commercially available.

Throughout Australian history, only 14 deaths from redbacks have been recorded. However thousands of people are bitten each year across Australia,  bites generally occur as a result of a person placing a hand or other body part too close to the web, such as when reaching into dark holes or wall cavities. Bites can also occur if a spider has hidden in clothes or shoes.

Bites from Redback spiders are generally characterised by extreme pain and severe swelling. The bite may be painful from the start, but sometimes only feels like a pinprick or mild burning sensation. Within an hour victims generally develop more severe local pain with local swelling and sometimes goosebumps. Pain, swelling and redness spread proximally from the site. Systemic envenoming is heralded by swollen or tender regional lymph nodes; associated features include malaise, nausea, vomiting, abdominal or chest pain, generalised sweating, headache, fever, hypertension and tremor.
Rare complications include seizure, coma, pulmonary edema, respiratory failure or localised skin infection. Severe pain can persist for over 24 hours after being bitten

Redback spiders usually prey on insects but they can capture larger animals that become entangled in the web including king crickets, trapdoor spiders, and small lizards. Commonly prey stealing occurs where larger females take food items stored in other spiders' webs. Most commonly, ants stray into the web. Redback spiders are known for deadly poison and lightning speed.

Its an amazing bit of Australian trivia that the song Redback on the Toilet Seat was written and recorded by Slim Newton (not Slim Dusty). It's a common misconception that this song was sung by Slim Dusty.

It was Newton's first record and earned him three gold records. 


There was a red-back on the toilet seat

When I was there last night,

I didn't see him in the dark,

But boy! I felt his bite!

I jumped high up into the air,

And when I hit the ground,

That crafty red-back spider

Wasn't nowhere to be found.

There was a red-back on the toilet seat

When I was there last night,

I didn't see him in the dark,

But boy! I felt his bite!

And now I'm ere in hospital,

A sad and sorry plight,

And I curse the red-back spider

On the toilet seat last night.

Rushed in to the missus,

Told her just where I'd been bit,

She grabbed the cut-throat razor blade,

And I nearly took a fit.

I said "Just forget what's on your mind,

And call a doctor please,

'Cause I've got a feeling that your cure

Is worse than the disease."

There was a red-back on the toilet seat

When I was there last night,

I didn't see him in the dark,

But boy! I felt his bite!

And now I'm ere in hospital,

A sad and sorry plight,

And I curse the red-back spider

On the toilet seat last night.

I can't lay down, I can't sit up,

And I don't know what to do,

And all the nurses think it's funny,

But that's not my point of view.

I tell you it's embarrassing,

(And that's to say the least)

That I'm too sick to eat a bite,

While that spider had a feast!

There was a red-back on the toilet seat

When I was there last night,

I didn't see him in the dark,

But boy! I felt his bite!

And now I'm ere in hospital,

A sad and sorry plight,

And I curse the red-back spider

On the toilet seat last night.

And when I get back home again,

I tell you what I'll do,

I'll make that red-back suffer

For the pain I'm going through.

I've had so many needles

That I'm looking like a sieve,

And I promise you that spider

Hasn't very long to live!

There was a red-back on the toilet seat

When I was there last night,

I didn't see him in the dark,

But boy! I felt his bite!

And now I'm ere in hospital,

A sad and sorry plight,

And I curse the red-back spider

On the toilet seat last night.

Yabby Aussie Crawfish Crayfish

Yabbies are common throughout Victoria and New South Wales, although the species also occurs in southern Queensland, South Australia and parts of the Northern Territory, making it the most widespread Australian crayfish.

Yabbies are found in swamps, streams, rivers, reservoirs and farm dams at low to medium elevations.

Yabbies feed primarily on algae and plant remains, at night, but also opportunistically feeding on any fish or animal remains they encounter at any time of day.

Yabbies are an important dietary item for Australian native freshwater fish like Murray cod and golden perch.

Catching yabbies

Or "yabbying", in rivers and farm dams is a popular summertime activity in Australia, particularly with children. The most popular method involves tying a piece of meat to a few metres of string or fishing line, which in turn is fastened to a stick in the bank, and throwing the meat into the water. The string is pulled tight when a determined yabby grasps the meat in its claws and tries to make off with it. The line is then slowly pulled back to the bank, with the grasping yabby usually maintaining its hold on the meat. When the meat and the grasping yabby reaches the water's edge, a net is used to quickly scoop up both the meat and the grasping yabby in one movement.

Other methods of catching yabbies involve various types of nets and traps. Local fishing regulations must be checked before using any nets and traps for yabbies; many types of nets and traps are banned as wildlife such as platypus, water rats and long-necked turtles can become trapped in them and drown.

Cooking Yabbies

As well as being easy to catch, yabbies are quite easy to cook. For the best results, leave the yabbies in just enough fresh water to cover their heads overnight so they can excrete all of the mud and dirt from their system. After this, freeze the yabbies. To cook, place them into a pot of boiling water until they turn red. Peel them similar to the way you would peel prawns, remembering to move the digestive tract. Enjoy with thousand island dressing or add to pasta dishes.

Kangaroo Shooting

Contrary to claims by regulatory agencies, the industry here in Australia is not fully professional, with a large proportion of casual shooters amongst licensees.
Kangaroos that are inaccurately targeted (not hit in the head from 80 to 200 metres at night) may suffer a painful, protracted death and their carcasses will not be utilised. Pouch-young joeys are clubbed on the head. Young-at-foot are supposed to be shot, but since the industry is self-regulated, they are often left to die of starvation or predation.
Taken together, it is likely that up to a million young are killed annually as collateral damage and their carcasses not used. This is an unacceptable practice by international standards. They are the by-products of the greatest massacre of wild animals in the world. In a similar case of harvested terrestrial wildlife, the products derived from young Canadian Harp Seals – which are clubbed to death – have been banned in most westernised countries.

Red kangaroos are a threatened species 

Red kangaroos are now being killed at a rate three times higher than they are reproducing. In the 1960's their average age was 12; today it is 2. Their average weight was 35 kg in the 1960's, which today is 18kg. Commercial killing has put insupportable pressure on Red kangaroos which now threatens the species. 

Australia has the highest rate of extinctions in the world but there appears to be no shame, only apathy about this appalling record. 

The Myth 

Kangaroos degrade and destroy the environment.


The soft padded feet and long tail of the kangaroo are integral to the ecological health of the land as regenerators of native grasses. It is destructive agricultural practices on marginal land that are proving to be unsustainable.


The best methods for dispatching joeys include beheading them or stomping them beneath your boot. The bigger ones you grab by the back legs and smash against a nearby rock or even the truck’s tire. After we killed five or six ‘roos, Craig a shooter would stop to gut them, pulling the babies out to dispatch them en masse. After one such performance Craig peered at me through the swirling dust and sighed.“Mate, I’ve been doin’ this for fifty years, and this part always makes me feel like such a ****

A Shooters Story

I was a professional kangaroo shooter 38 years ago. Now I spend an inordinate amount of time in the defence of animals that are doing poorly at the hands of humans.

You may ask as to what has led me to do a complete turnabout in my thinking, and expect some profound answer explaining that at such and such a moment in time the sky opened up and all of a sudden I saw the light. Sorry to disappoint, but it did not happen this way.

If there is any profundity in my "conversion", it is that I have come to the realization that we are all led down differing paths in life by our genetic make-up and the circumstance that we find ourselves in.

In my case, 38 years ago, the whole social, political and animal concern scene was vastly different to today's. There was a predominate attitude of human matters being at the fore of thought and a mish-mash of ideas when dealing with the other animals on the planet. On the one hand, personal pets were gaining in the welfare stakes, as were wild creatures that had "fluffy" appeal. On the other, domestic stock conditions were degrading rapidly into the factory farm situation that is still rampant to now.

This some decades of time saw European cities and other population centres around the Western World explode into greater awareness of the suffering of our "food". Unfortunately, socio/economic pressures, had rural climes, to a large extent, excluded from this expansion of a new way in thinking about the rest of nature.

In this distant past, the kangaroo was erroneously thought of as a pest that was diminishing the financial returns of those who depended on their income in outback areas.

This excuse was reasoning enough for kangaroos to be killed without compassion, for they were the enemy. Even so, I, and I would suggest, many other kangaroo shooters, were and are, very uneasy with the practice of having to kill Joey's on a never ending basis. It was not understood then, that the Joey-at-foot would also die in a state of terror by psychological deprivation, predation or starvation. Many kangaroo shooters now convince themselves that this joey escapes and lives happily ever after. Delusions of this sort are not uncommon in the industry and in governments and their acting agents.

Self-delusion played a big part in my experience as a kangaroo shooter but let me state here in the most unequivocal manner that is possible, to be able to self deceive is part and parcel of being human. There will be those that read this in a most judgmental way, comforting themselves with the thought that they could never had done such a thing as kangaroo shooting. Be very careful of that kind of thinking because it does not accord with the facts about the capacity of humanity to be inhumane to people and animals, given the right set of circumstance.

 Be very careful that you are not self-deluding yourself on this point, for if you are, you are just the person who could be a kangaroo shooter if the situation dictated it so.

I do come across this kind of condemnation but it so insignificant when compared to the mental anguish I put myself through on a daily basis as to be non-existent. This will be carried till the day I die.

Thoughts of the terrible wounding and as stated, the slaughter of the innocents and now with greater knowledge, thoughts of the at-foot-Joey's left to fend for themselves in their thousands. Thoughts of taking the lives of countless numbers of kangaroos for convenient reasons. Thoughts of being a part of the juggernaut that was and is altering the genetic make up of a marvellous animal. Thoughts of my part in vilifying the kangaroo with the end result of it not having the awed respect, as it should, of the Australian people. Every time there is a wanton act of cruelty to kangaroos, I must bear some of the blame.

I stopped being a kangaroo shooter for many reason, with the cruelty only one of the many.
The kangaroo is not a pest and it is only the greedy and the foolhardy who believe it is a resource to be used at whim.

Australia must re-define its stubbornly inadequate definition of what is compassion and in doing so reap the rewards of not only doing the right thing, but the very tangible benefits of the eco-tourist dollar.

No doubt, other kangaroo shooters will read this, so it seems appropriate to leave a message for them.

If you can see past the self-delusion of what you are doing to other sentient and suffering capable creatures, for the sake of your future mind, do not wait for kangaroo shooting to be discarded as a remnant of our brutish past, as it will, but choose to get out now. The rest of your life will thank you for this very wise action.

This I guarantee.

The kangaroo is a universally loved icon yet millions are slaughtered to accommodate destructive agricultural practices. 

David Nicholls

Write to David Nicholls with your support at the email address below.

Australia's leaders hide behind a protective wall of propaganda and irresponsible legislation, so that a few may gain from the death of a species.

Mud Crabs

Mud Crabs are marine and estuarine coastal dwellers that can tolerate low salinity for extended periods, preferring shallow water with a muddy bottom in mangroves, sheltered estuaries and tidal flats (though females with eggs are often found well offshore).
Found around most of the Australian coast from NSW north around to Shark Bay, WA; most of the commercial catch is from Queensland and NT, with some also from NSW. Caught in pots, drop nets and dillies.

You can catch mud crabs year round, with peaks from January to April in Queensland and NSW and from May to August in NT.

Size and Weight
Commonly about 17cm in carapace width and 500g-1kg, but can grow to 28cm and 3kg. Size restrictions vary from state to state.

To Cook

The shell is a dull dark blue-green to mottled brown when uncooked; like all crustaceans, they turn orange when cooked. Average yield is 25% (from claws and body, largely from front claws). The flesh is translucent when raw and white to off-white when cooked, it has a medium-strong, sweet flavour, low oiliness and is moist and flaky. Body meat has a medium texture, while claw meat is firmer. Some people enjoy the stronger-tasting ‘mustard’ or brown meat (internal organs) in the body. The most humane, and easiest, method of killing any crustacean is to chill it in the freezer for about 45 minutes until it becomes insensible (but not long enough to freeze it). Once chilled, it should be killed promptly by splitting in half or dropping into rapidly boiling water.

Cooking Methods

Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry (it’s best to partially cook by steaming, boiling or poaching before pan- or stir-frying). Do not recook cooked Crabs, pick the meat and use it in salads, sandwiches, as a garnish for soups, or in dishes where it is just gently warmed, such as pasta, risotto, Crab cakes and omelettes. The large front claws can be battered or crumbed (with or without stuffing) and deep-fried.

Goes Well With

Anchovies, black pepper, butter, chervil, chilli, coconut, coriander, cream, fish sauce, dill, garlic, ginger, lemon, lemongrass, lime, mayonnaise, nutmeg, onion, parsley, soy sauce, tarragon, tomatoes, turmeric.

Witchety grub Bush Tucker

The witchetty grub also spelled witchety grub or witjuti grub is a term used in Australia for the large, white, wood-eating larvae of several moths. Particularly it applies to the larva of the cossid moth Endoxyla leucomochla, which feeds on the roots of the Witchetty bush.

The grub is the most important insect food of the desert and was a staple in the diets of Aboriginal women and children.
I’ve tried one raw, they are very gooey and eggy and quite disgusting, but they can bite your tongue if you forget to bite their heads off. When cooked some say the flavour is variously described as almond-like or similar to peanut butter. Some popular recipes include Singed Witchetty Grubs and Witchetty Grub Soup.

Barbecued Grubs

Barbecued, witchetties are often eaten as an appetizer. They are cooked over a fire on pieces of wire, rather like shasliks or satays. It takes about two minutes each side for the meat to become white and chewy and the skin crusty. Barbecued witchetties taste quite like chicken or prawns, serve with a peanut sauce.

Catholics in Australia

The first Catholics to reside in Australia arrived with the First Fleet in 1788. They were mostly Irish convicts, together with a few marines. One-tenth of all convicts transported to Australia were Catholic, and half of these were born in Ireland, while a good proportion of the others were English-born but of Irish extraction. Most of the rest were English or Scottish. By the year 1803, a total of 2086 Irish convicts, nearly all of whom were Catholic, had been transported to Botany Bay. Estimates are that about four-fifths of these were ordinary criminals and most of the remainder 'social rebels', those convicted of crimes of violence against property and landlords. Only a very small number could be regarded as genuine political rebels: about 600 in the entire history of transportation, and hardly any after 1803.

Father John Joseph Therry 

The first priests

Although many Irish convicts were merely nominal Catholics -- in fact, many were quite irreligious -- many others diligently and courageously kept their faith alive despite the fact that, for most of the next thirty years or so, priests were only sporadically available to provide them with the sacraments. According to the 1828 Census, out of a total Catholic population of about 10 000, there were 374 adults who had been born in Australia and raised in a totally lay environment, the Catholic faith passed on to them despite the absence of priests. It was not until 1800 that the first priests arrived in the colony -- as convicts! One of these, James Dixon, was granted conditional emancipation and permission to say Mass for the Catholics of Sydney, Liverpool and Parramatta on successive Sundays, a practice that continued from 1803 until March 1804, when the Castle Hill rebellion so alarmed Governor King that he withdrew Dixon's privileges. Dixon soon after returned to Ireland, and Mass was not legally celebrated again in the colony until Fathers John Joseph Therry and Philip Connolly, chaplains appointed by the Government in London, arrived in 1820. Their arrival can be regarded as the formal establishment of the Catholic Church in Australia.

Bishop John Bede Polding 

The first bishop

The first Catholic bishop in Australia was John Bede Polding. Like the man who prepared the way for his arrival and who became his first Vicar-General, William Ullathorne, and like his successor, Roger Vaughan, Polding was an English Benedictine monk. Polding's dream was to establish a Church founded on monastic ideals, in which scholarship and sublime liturgy , accompanied by Gregorian chant, would civilise and convert the new country, just as they had in earlier centuries in Europe. But Polding's priests were mainly Irish, and this was not their conception of what the Church should be like. Their efforts, and the efforts of the Irish bishops who were appointed to other newly established dioceses, soon combined with Australia's singular geographical and social environment to subvert Polding's vision.

Irish clergy dominated Australian Catholic life until fairly recently, and it was not until the 1930s that Australian-born priests outnumbered them. Irish priests continued to come to Australia throughout the twentieth century, a few arriving even in recent years.

 Catholic school house, Richmond Tasmania, undated.  

Catholic schools

At least two Catholic schools were established in the early years of the nineteenth century but neither survived very long, and it was not until after the arrival of Therry and Connolly in 1820 that significant development took place. By 1833, there were about ten Catholic schools in the country. From this time until the end of the 1860s, Catholic schools received some government assistance under a variety of schemes, but campaigns for 'free, secular and compulsory' education had begun in the 1850s and it became increasingly clear that Catholic schools would not be able to rely on government aid for much longer. Between 1872 and 1893, every State passed an Education Act removing state aid to Church schools. This was a turning point for Catholic schools and, indeed, for the Catholic community in Australia. Bishops and people decided to persevere with the Catholic system. With no money to pay teachers, the bishops appealed to religious orders in Ireland and other European countries, and soon religious sisters and brothers were responding to the crisis.

The Christian Brothers came to Australia first of all to Sydney in 1843 

The growth of religious orders

There were already a few religious orders in Australia: as well as the Sisters of Charity, there were also, among others, the Good Samaritan Sisters, founded by Polding in 1857, and the Sisters of St Joseph, founded in 1866 by Fr Julian Tenison Woods and Mary MacKillop, now recognised as Australia's first saint. By 1871, these 'Josephites' were running thirty-five schools in the Adelaide diocese. By 1880, there were a total of 815 sisters from all orders teaching in schools; by 1910 the number exceeded 5000. The sisters not only set up schools in the cities but also established little parish schools all over Australia, providing a Catholic education for the children of the bush. Their efforts, with almost no money and in the face of considerable hardship, were nothing short of heroic. The largest of the male teaching orders, the Christian Brothers, had 115 brothers teaching in thirty schools by 1900. Under the influence of the religious orders, Catholic schools not only survived but flourished; the sisters and brothers were to be the mainstay of the schools for a hundred years.

Today's Catholic community

The outcome of all these changes in society and the Church is that today's Catholic community looks very different from that of the 1950s. Mass attendance rates have fallen; the number of priests, sisters and brothers is declining and their average age is increasing. The relationship between clergy and people has changed. Old forms of devotion like the Rosary have nearly disappeared but there has been a growth of interest in alternative forms of prayer borrowed from a variety of cultures and traditions. An array of leadership roles which were once the preserve of priests and religious -- in education, health care, parish life and many other fields -- has been filled by lay people, and lay people (by no means all Catholics) comprise virtually the entire staff at Catholic schools and the majority of students at Catholic theological colleges. Some Catholics see these changes as a tragedy which the bishops either have been powerless to stop or have conspired to promote, but most regard them as welcome evidence of a Church prepared to adapt to meet changing circumstances. Yet the changes that have taken place have primarily been changes in rules and practices. The Church's teachings have been re-interpreted in the light of modern understandings of history, sociology, the sciences and other fields of human endeavour, and then re-expressed in language more suitable for the times. By and large, however, the teachings themselves have not changed.

Get invitations to travel free

A travel blog is a web based journal. Lots of travellers write down a daily journal or at least intend to, so the idea is that you  write down your journal online.
The objective is to start your blog, by writing articles and offering advice to new travellers, journey charting maps, video uploads and providing a friendly place to chat about travel.
I learnt from this site, how to make money with a travel blog, and now i am able to enjoy the freedom of living wherever I want, and traveling whenever I want.

Starting a Online Travel Agency

A travel agency is a retail business that sells travel related products and services to customers on behalf of suppliers such as airlines, car rentals, cruise lines, hotels, railways, sightseeing tours and package holidays that combine several products.

You can stay in 5-star hotels with the best of upgrades and get paid to do so. 85% of travel is now booked you can lie on the sunny beach or hike through the forest and check your laptop computer a couple of times a day to see how many people booked travel on your website. You receive a commission from your own booking plus get discounts from most places since you're a travel agent...........all while the employees in the finest hotels treat you like kings & queens because you are a travel agent...........and they need your support and business so theirs can continue!

1. Fill out business license applications as required by local, state and federal agencies.

2. Select your target market and decide which travel category to specialize in. For example, baby boomers tend to travel the most and enjoy taking cruises. Therefore, baby boomers might represent the target market while cruises represent the specialty category.

3. Learn as much as you can about your specialty category. Avoid taking expensive courses. Ask suppliers what type of free training they provide.

4. Set up a website where people can book their own flights, hotel or cruises directly from providers. Spend time online researching the best website hosting deals.

5.Visit the QuickBooker website and sign up for an affiliate account. Set up travel and hotel booking with their system directly on your website for free.

6. Look for travel and cruise suppliers that offer the same service as QuickBooker.

7. If you live in the U.S. Join the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents (NACTA) if you can afford it. They offer members a list of suppliers and training resources.

8. Advertise by handing out fliers and business cards. Submit your website URL to search engines. Buy magnetic signs for your vehicle or place stick-on vinyl letters with your website URL on your rear window.

9. Use your website to allow customers to book their own flights and to get help directly from suppliers. Provide a customer service number for questions or help with booking.

10. Spend most of your time advertising. Take your home-based travel agency seriously and start living the  dream.

Fatboy Slim

He may now be holding near 'grandpa' status within the dance music world, but Norman 'Fatboy Slim' Cook can still pack out a venue with Melbourne's Palace at near capacity for his Future Music sideshow. 

In 2002 DJ Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, was waking up in a town in England that still loved him - and his knack of putting on a good party.
Some were already calling this party 'Normstock'. Others talked of Glastonbury-by-Sea. Its official name was Big Beach Boutique II. Last year more than 60,000 people turned up at Brighton beach to watch Big Beach Boutique I, a free and barely advertised concert thrown by Cook, the millionaire super star DJ who also owns his own record label called Skint. This year it was bound to be even bigger, but few realised just how big - until it was too late.
As a heatwave swept the south of England, Brighton was swamped by more than 250,000 people, doubling its population and bringing the seaside resort to the brink of disaster.

His productions or mixes may not do anything for you, but there's no denying the video for his 2000 hit 'Weapon of Choice' directed by the incomparable Spike Jonze is one of the best film clips ever made. 

To those who haven't seen it, crank up the sound, sit back and enjoy...

Aboriginal Cooking

Tasty Kangaroo Tails

Aborigines lived as Hunter-gatherers. They hunted and foraged for food from the land.
Australian Aboriginal cooking methods are unique, most of them originating in and around outdoor fires. Boiling and barbecuing are newer techniques that they have learned.
Aboriginals ate a balanced diet before the invasion of the British Crown, including seasonal fruits, nuts, roots vegetables, wattles, other plant food, many types of meats, and seafood.

Aboriginal Cooking Methods

 Roasting on hot coals:

· The basic technique for cooking flesh, including most meats, fish and small turtles.
A further slow roasting, involving covering with coals and ashes may have then
been employed to thoroughly cook the meat or to soften an otherwise tough meat.
After cooking, the meat would be quickly consumed.
· For game, such as a kangaroo, the fur would first be singed off in the flames. As
the carcase started to swell, it would be removed from the flames, gutted and the
remains of the fur scraped off with a sharp implement. By this time the fire would
be a bed of hot coals on which the carcase would be further cooked. It is unlikely
that cooking would be complete by this method, the meat would be rare but
probably relished by all, particularly the men of the group.
· Smaller game would be more thoroughly cooked by this method.
· Shellfish would be cooked briefly on the coals at the side of a fire so that, as soon as
the contents started to froth, they were removed from the heat. This method
avoided the shellfish being overcooked and tough.

Baking in the ashes

Dampers and various types of bread were baked in the ashes. Care was taken to only
use the correct type of wood from which the ashes were obtained. Some woods
imparted an unpleasant taste or even caused irritation or discomfort to the users. most
wattles seemed to have been successfully used for baking in the ashes, yielding a fine
ash that did not cause irritation. Witchetty grubs only required to be briefly rolled in
the hot ashes to cook them. Often damper or goanna would be placed on the hot
ground beneath the ashes and covered with more ash to cook. A scooped out hollow
was often made in which to cook yams and other small vegetables by then covering
them with a further layer of ash and coals.

Steaming in a ground oven

Aboriginal cooking methods using ancient ground ovens still exist, particularly in the Wiradjuri area, along the Darling,
Murrumbidgee and Lachlan Rivers. At Lake Urana in western NSW I have seen such
ovens and only recognised them after having them explained to me. The ovens were
prepared by digging out a pit about 90 cm long and 60 cm deep, taking care to collect
any clay from the digging. The clay, usually fashioned into smooth lumps, would be
placed aside until the pit had been filled with selected firewood and then placed on
top. As the wood burned, the clay would dry quickly and become very hot. These
clay lumps, nearly red hot, would be removed from the pit using sticks for tongs, the
pit swept out and quickly lined with green leaves or grass on which small game such
as possums would be lain, covered by more green grass and weighed down by the clay lumps. All this was covered with earth from the original excavation to prevent loss of
steam. This method of cooking produced excellent results. In areas such as Arnhem Land, wrapping in moist paperbark from the Melaleuca trees is still a popular method
of cooking vegetables and meat in a ground oven. Iron particles in ground ovens
became aligned according to the magnetic field of the earth at the time the ovens were
last used – from this the age of the ovens could be calculated, a bonus for

Kangaroo hunting by Aboriginal people in the Pilbara, Western Australia. Warning! don't watch if sensitive to hunting scenes


It may seem odd to hear of a red meat being touted as a health food, but the emu industry is doing exactly that, and with good cause.

The Emu is the largest bird native to Australia. It is the second-largest bird in the world by height, after its relative, the ostrich. There are three subspecies of Emus in Australia. The Emu is common over most of mainland Australia, although it avoids heavily populated areas, dense forest, and arid areas.

The soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds reach up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height. They have long thin necks and legs. Emus can travel great distances at a fast, economical trot and, if necessary, can sprint at 50 km/h (31 mph) for some distance at a time.

Emus are large birds. The largest can reach up to 150 to 190 centimetres (59–75 in) in height, 1 to 1.3 metres (3.3 – 4.3 ft) at the shoulder. Emus weigh between 18 and 55 kilograms (40 and 121 lb). Females are usually larger than males by a small amount, but are substantially wider across the rump.

Emus use their strongly clawed feet as a defence mechanism. Their legs are among the strongest of any animals, allowing them to rip metal wire fences. They are endowed with good eyesight and hearing, which allows them to detect predators in the vicinity. The plumage varies regionally, matching the surrounding environment and improving its camouflage. The feather structure prevents heat from flowing into the skin, permitting Emus to be active during the midday heat.

The female Emu lays one of an average of 11 (and as many as 20) very large, thick-shelled, dark-green eggs. The shell is around 1 mm thick although indigenous Australians say that northern eggs are thinner. The number of eggs varies with rainfall. The eggs are on average 134 by 89 millimetres (5.3 × 3.5 in) and weigh between 700 and 900 grams (1.5 and 2.0 lb), which is roughly equivalent to 10–12 chicken eggs in volume and weight. The egg surface is granulated and pale green. During the incubation period, the egg turns dark green, although if the egg never hatches, it will turn white from the bleaching effect of the sun.

Farmers in India have taken to emu-farming to avail of multiple returns offered by the birds for their meat, oil, skin, feathers besides medicinal value.

Many consumers have been instructed to give up red meat because of cholesterol, but since emu is low in saturated fats, as well as being packed with the vitamins and minerals needed by those with immune deficiencies, it is an excellent health choice," said Charles Ramey, AEA president. Recognized as Heart Healthy by the American Heart Association, emu ranked best in 15 out of 20 essential nutrients in a USDA funded study at the University of Wisconsin.

Because it is very lean, there will be little to no shrinkage during cooking. A moist heat and shorter cooking time is recommended.

Emu Burgers

1 ½ lb. ground emu

½ c. non-fat dried milk

2 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. liquid smoke, optional

Combine all ingredients with the ground emu and mix well. Shape into patties and grill. Serves 6.

Deviled Emu Burgers

2 lb. Ground Emu

¾ cup. Italian Salad Dressing

3 Tbsp. Dijon-style mustard

½ cup finely chopped green onions

½ cup. emu egg or 2 chicken eggs

1 cup. plain dry bread crumbs

In a small bowl, combine the dressing and mustard. In a large bowl, combine the ground emu, onions, eggs, breadcrumbs and ½ cup of the dressing/mustard mixture. Shape the meat into 8 patties. Grill or broil burgers, turning once and brushing occasionally with reserved dressing mixture, until desired doneness is reached.

Serves 8.

Heart Healthy Meat Loaf

2 pounds ground emu
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 chicken egg
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced bell pepper
Mix all ingredients by hand in large bowl. You should have a very moist mixture. Pour into casserole and bake covered at 350° for 45 minutes. Remove lid and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serves 6.

Emu Scaloppini with Mushroom Sauce

1 pound emu steaks (1/4 inch thick)
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 stick of margarine
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
Lightly pound the steaks until 1/8" thick. Sprinkle with lemon pepper. In a 12" skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of margarine over moderate heat. (Add more margarine as needed) Sear emu steaks on both sides and transfer to a platter, cover with foil and keep warm. Add remaining ingredients (except for parsley) to skillet. Bring to a boil and boil uncovered; stirring frequently, until slightly thickened and vegetables are tender. Pour over emu steaks. Serves 4.

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