Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published December 20th 2017
Emu Eggs Handcarved to Perfection and Beauty
The town of St George in South West Queensland is situated on the Balonne River and is famously known for catching fish such as Yellowbelly and Murray Cod. The town was named by Major Thomas Mitchell who, during his exhibition to the area in 1846, crossed the river on a bed of denuded rocks. He established a depot on the spot and named the crossing St George because the crossing was close to the date of England's patron Saint St George Feast Day.
Today the town is a centre for cotton and wheat growing as well as sheep farming. With a district population of approximately 3,800 people, the town is equipped catering for childcare to high school, medical centres, hospital, community and retirement villages. Being in Inland Queensland, temperatures in Summer can exceed 34 degrees while winter can get as low as minus five and rainfall is variable from drought to flooding rains. However, St George is an astronomer's dream with big open skies that light up to display a mass of stars including the Southern Cross and Milky Way.
The Unique Egg, Victoria St St. George (Author's photo)
One of the main tourist attractions in St George is The Unique Egg, which is situated next door to Stevie Jean's Coffee Shop in Victoria Street. For over sixty years, Steve Margaritis has been handcrafting Emu Eggs in a variety of designs. His inspiration in the craft comes from his early childhood years in Greece where he remembers shepherds in the bush carving from wood. As a kid he would break a bottle and try to do a carving.
An uncle living in St George would write home to Greece describing emu eggs and how they could feed not only one person but the whole family. Steve migrated to Australia after the war and on seeing the eggs, commenced carving. A number of different blades are used in the carving process, which could take a number of weeks to finish as it is a very delicate procedure. Originally the eggs were sourced from the bush, but now they are obtained from a local aviary west of town.
The designs on the eggs feature anything from detailed geometric patterns to portraits and commemorations to such events like the ANZAC landings in Gallipoli, Olympic Games and September 11. The eggs are best displayed when the lights are switched off although some LED lights were shining through the emu shells, giving an amazing glimpse into the creative mind of this self-made man. Steve did not go to school in Greece and he believes his ideas and inspirations come from the Australian bush where isolation and desperation can sometimes take hold.
Hanging around the walls are letters of appreciation from people the World over like President Obama and the Governor General.
The Unique Egg is open weekdays from 9.00am to 4.00pm and 9.00am to 12 noon on Saturdays. The cost of entry is $5.00 per person and will include a video. Although Steve has displayed his private collection all over the World, it is now permanently housed in St George and is a bucket list item not to be missed if you are on holiday in the area. Eggs are on sale at the centre. I was in total awe at the beauty and craftmanship created in the eggs and could not say I liked one better than the other. This feeling encompassed the whole bus.