Emu egg carving

The art of carving emu eggs - Kalti Paarti - became popular in the 19th century. Emu egg shells have multiple layers ranging from an inner white layer through to the familiar green outer layer, ensuring they are highly valued for carving among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists.

Are you aware of upcoming changes to wildlife licensing?


The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 is scheduled to commence from 25 August 2017.

Existing wildlife licence classes, conditions and fees will remain in place after the Act begins.

Proposed changes to wildlife licensing under the new Act will be exhibited for public comment in the second half of 2017. These changes are expected to be taken up during 2018.

Learn more about the wildlife licensing reforms.

Licences to carve or decorate emu eggs

If you want to carve or decorate emu eggs, you'll need a licence from the NPWS.

A licence allows you to:

  • acquire infertile or blown emu eggs from emu farms, fauna parks or zoos (i.e. captive sources only)
  • carve or decorate captive-sourced eggs
  • sell your carved or decorated eggs.

Download the Application for a General Licence to Acquire and Hold Emu Eggs (PDF 61KB).

Can I collect emu eggs from the wild?

No, it is illegal to collect emu eggs from the wild.

You can only acquire emu eggs from captive sources such as emu farms, fauna parks and zoos.

What if I just want to buy carved or decorated emu eggs?

If you just want to buy carved or decorated emu eggs from an artist or store, you don’t need a licence.

When buying, always check for the following so you know the egg was legally sourced:

  • the artist's licence number, written or etched on the egg (e.g. MWL000934)
  • the licence number of the emu farmer, fauna park or zoo, written or etched on the egg (e.g. MWL00036)

Licence conditions

Licensees must submit a report before renewing or ending their licence. The report shows how many eggs were bought and sold, and where they were sourced from.

Download the General licence emu egg conditions (PDF 50KB) .

Artists also need to write or etch their licence number on each egg they carve or decorate.

Useful documents and links

Emu egg carving / decoration activity report template (PDF 119KB).

Kalti Paarti- emu egg carving: the Australian Museum in Sydney holds a large collection of beautifully carved emu eggs.

Further information

Contact the Wildlife Team for further information.

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Page last updated: 09 August 2017