Inordinate Intrigue     

It was early evening on Saturday the 8th of March 1969. My father sat on the edge of my bed at the old homestead and asked if I was ready because this story would change the way I thought about my future.   

I didn’t have to go to bed early. I had finished my homework and completed my chores. In fact, Dad had just surprised the family with the district’s first colour television. In just two days’ time, New Zealand’s legendary All Black rugby team would play against the mighty Springboks in Johannesburg, South Africa which we would watch in full colour, but at this point, I couldn’t have cared less. Dad had been promising this story, for what seemed to a seven-year-old, to be a lifetime.  

“Yeah Dad, I am ready!” I squirmed beneath the bed covers as the excitement overwhelmed my entire body.   

This is a story of my father, a tall wiry man full of enthusiasm for life, wild with ideas and keen as a new born foal, who fought in a war of a very different kind. Listen carefully because what transpired as a consequence, you, will want to remember.   

“Binone Nimmo Sandilands, your grandfather, was deployed from Fielding, New Zealand to Campion, Western Australia on the morning of October 14th, 1932 to fight against the toughest opponent Australians had ever faced, the Emu.”  

“Hahaha, you’re kidding me Dad, I know we are always ribbing the Aussies but Emus, really?” 

“Allan, according to my father the Australians are some of the toughest soldiers on the planet, but the Emu was a different kind of adversary. Firstly, they are adept at life within the West Australian outback.  

Your grandfather was among an elite group of mounted officers sent to eradicate a pest of enormous proportions.

Alas, this is not a story of fighting Emus’, this is a story of what my father, your grandfather, discovered while in pursuit of one particularly evasive old male.”

Dad dimmed the bedroom lights, motioned with his finger and his voice lowered as his eyes perused the surroundings, as if someone were intent on gaining confidential information.

“Come closer son, let me tell you exactly what he found…”

…to be continued