John Austin: Black and White Photography, Rae Starr: Cyanotype and Textiles


Seven Dead Emus - Picture Story

Sep 13th, 2019 • StoriesUncategorised

This picture was made on my return to Quinninup from the opening of the Western Australian Art On The Move 1996 version of my first twenty four year Survey Show at Bunbury Regional Art Gallery, Friday 13th September 1996.

John Austin, Seven Dead Emus, Quinninup, 1996

Returning to Quinninup following the launch of John Austin Photography Art on the Move touring exhibition on Saturday 14th September 1996, and about 3Km north of Quinninup I came across these eight emus, all of whom looked dead.  After getting home I immediately returned to document the scene.  During the work one lifted its head, even with its mortal injuries, so I picked up a rock to end it, but it moved its head away, so I had to hold its neck to dispatch it, while screaming at the forest

Later that morning Pam Purdy said she saw a Cutt's Transport, Manjimup, truck speeding through Quinninup covered in blood and feathers.

This image was included in my second twenty four year survey exhibition, which opened at BRAG in September 2017.  Since then this image travelled with the exhibtion as a BRAG Touring Exhibition to Busselton, Manjimup, Northcliffe and Mandurah.  There is currently consideration and some discussion about extending the tour with a modified version of the show to Kellerberrin and Fremantle,  but nothing have been decided.

This picture story post was spurred by a poem by Donna Mazza that was influenced by this image.
(Arena Magazine Nr 161 p46,

. . . 3
Gravel of graphs and scattered statistics,
     obtuse ankles cornered by a hypotenuse of legs and wings and necks
     and leg and neck and wing,
Lines smeared by a mash of gullets and randomised feathers - Unpredicatable as air.

Expected as the ratio of truck:tree
     the probability of LandCruiser to Emu,
Flying past gravel and statistics which buzz in the mid-afternoon sun
     stretching out to a vanishing point.

Donna Mazza


Hasselblad SWC camera, Ilford FP4+ film.


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