n English in Africa - Five Emus to the King of Siam : Environment and Empire, Helen Tiffin (Ed.) : book review

Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



The charming title to this fascinating collection of essays comes from Chris Tiffin's contribution on the Queensland Acclimatization Society. One of the self-proclaimed tasks of this rather obscure little organisation was "the introduction, acclimatisation, and domestication of all innoxious animals, birds, fishes, insects, and vegetables" as vital components of colonial prosperity (Tiffin 167). Not only were not-so-'innoxious' rabbits, laurels and grains introduced into Australia; imperial connectivity meant that animals were shipped out, too, including, in September 1865, "two kangaroos to the Royal Zoological Society in London, two scrub turkeys to New Caledonia," three red deer to a local landholder to try to breed from them, fish from the Mary River sent to Tasmania, and "five emus to the King of Siam" (165).

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