ASSISTANT TEACHER: Fred the emu joins in on reading time with dad Rob McArthur and distance education student daughter Eliza.
ASSISTANT TEACHER: Fred the emu joins in on reading time with dad Rob McArthur and distance education student daughter Eliza. Ainsley McArthur

#FredtheEmu goes viral: Watch the videos and see why

A FRIENDLY emu has captured the heart of a Central Queensland family and now Australia.

On a property north of Rockhampton near Marlborough lies Mystery Park where the McArthur family lives.

Going about their day-to-day operation on the cattle farm, the family came home from mustering earlier this year to find an emu hanging around the yards.

 

Parents Rob and Ainsley were initially cautious as it was a wild animal and they have five young children. Over the course of the next few days, the emu started to venture closer and closer and eventually it came into the house yard. That was two months ago.

Now it plays crickets with the kids, helps to pull out weeds in the garden or hang out washing with Ainsley, chases the cattle, eats mulberries off the bush and can't get enough of the family.

The McArthur children dubbed the friendly bird "Fred" and through her blog, From the Verandah, videos of #FredtheEmu have gone viral.

 

Fred and the McArthur family have caught the eye of many media outlets and just this week it was featured on the national Channel 10 morning show Studio 10.

Rockhampton born author and television personality Anna Daniels presented the feature and came across Fred on social media.

She and Bryce Millar from Rocky's Mad Dog Productions made the trek to Fred's farm to check him out for themselves.

 

Fred the emu likes to play wicket keeper when the McArthur kids play cricket.
Fred the emu likes to play wicket keeper when the McArthur kids play cricket. Ainsley McArthur

"I just couldn't believe how fond they all were of each other. It wasn't just Fred fond with of the family, the family was enamoured with him too. The friendship between them all was just mutual," Daniels said.

"To see the little kids sit either side and able to pat him, how attached Fred is with Rob, how he interacts with the family.

"I have seen emus in the wild but I have never seen one so tame and domesticated."

 

Rockhampton born author Anna Daniels visited the McArthur family with her Studio 10 crew to film Fred the emu.
Rockhampton born author Anna Daniels visited the McArthur family with her Studio 10 crew to film Fred the emu. Contributed

 

The story has been getting a lot of love online as it is such a lovely, upbeat story. It's also such a uniquely Australian and rural Queensland story.

Fred the Emu isn't trying to sell something, he is just making people laugh.

"I think it's just a great positive story when people are going through such hard times in the country," Daniels said.

"It's just an adorable, innocent story, the audience feels warmed to him."

 

Anna Daniels spoke to the McArthur children about their love for their newfound pet.
Anna Daniels spoke to the McArthur children about their love for their newfound pet. Contributed

 

For Daniels it's just that bit extra special as it is close to home - the property is just two hours north of Rockhampton.

After publishing her debut novel Girl in Between in 2017, she has been working on television shows and is now working freelance for Studio 10, pitching ideas when she finds one.

"Anything I can do in Central Queensland I always jump at that opportunity. I love championing Central Queensland," Daniels said.

Fred's story on Studio 10 went live on Monday and the McArthur family sat down in the farmhouse to watch it.

 

While his story aired on TV, Fred was peeking through the back door and Ainsley said it wouldn't be long before he figured out the screen door and gets in.

"He's kind of moved in," she said.

 

Fred likes to follow Rob around when he does yard work.
Fred likes to follow Rob around when he does yard work. Ainsley McArthur

The family have no idea where he came from or why he chose them but they have since grown quite attached.

Emus are not something they see too many of.

They could go a month without seeing an emu, but now they have Fred, the youngest girls are on the lookout for a girlfriend for him.

 

She also joked he should be paying her to be his media manager not to mention cleaning up his droppings on the cement.

"It's really funny how so many have been intrigued by him, and not so many farmers but worldwide," Ainsley said.

"I have had people messaging me from Canada and the UK asking for more Fred videos."

 

He has also become a bit of a local celebrity.

With two of the older boys in boarding school at Rockhampton Grammar School, Ainsley and Rob are quite often in Rocky. They have been stopped in Bunnings and out and about to people saying "you're the emu family".

The house yard gate is kept open as he is a wild animal and could return to the wild any time he wished. Ainsley said she just tried to enjoy him and capture videos while they could.

 

 

"I think this emu likes us. He was waiting at the milker yard so I opened the gate and he came right in.” Ainsley McArthur


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