How can you miss him? The big fella known as Stanley stands to attention on the eastern side of the Castlereagh Highway, about five kays south of the Ridge turn-off.


There are three plaques at the base of Stanley, like they put one on a big rock and then remembered something they should have added so went back and stuck another on. Then another. The first one’s pretty straightforward.


But I guess the mayor of Walgett Shire (who is better known for his roles in Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day) got sick of answering pesky questions about Stanley. Questions like “Why?” and “WTF?”

So a second plaque was commissioned. (This isn’t true. I’m just making it up. But stay with me.) This second plaque had some cultural information: stuff about the Yuwaalaraay name for an emu (dhinawan) and about how father emus incubate the eggs and about the Aboriginal dance group from the Lightning Ridge Central School. So they stuck this second plaque on a boulder next Stanley, and I bet Bill Murray thought “Thank Christ for that”.


But still the questions came.

All those nosey-parker grey nomads that camp out at the roadside stop over the road from Stanley. Those guidebook writers and retired teachers and bloggers with their pesky queries. Yeah, all right, so you’ve got this massive steel emu. And it’s like a Yuwaalaraay thing. And, yeah, daddy emus are real nice. But, like, why?

So Bill sent his offsider down to the trophy shop again and got them to bang out another feckin’ plaque.

This one’s substantially longer. I think Bill had gotten jack of the grey nomads and bloggers by this time. Maybe someone put his email address onto a “Weird outback shit” chatroom and he started getting all these cranky messages. What’s with the big emu, Bill Murray? And when are you going to leave Walgett Shire and starting making decent films again, like Lost in Translation? Huh?

So this plaque goes into extensive detail about Stanley. More detail, probably, than even the nosiest retired teacher grey nomad wants to know. But there it is: read on if you’re interested. I got most of the way through it.


So, Stanley.



I’ve still no idea why you’re there. But you’re one big fucking emu.

One thought on “Stanley

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