The art of carving emu eggs, known as Kalti Paarti, became popular in the 19th century and is still highly valued today.
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists scratch, scrape or carve away the outer layers of shell to reveal shades of blue, blue-green, brown, grey and white.
Emus are protected in New South Wales under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act).
When you need a licence
You need a licence, granted under the BC Act, to obtain captive-sourced emu eggs to carve or decorate and sell. It is illegal to collect emu eggs from the wild.
An emu egg carving licence allows you to:
- obtain infertile or blown emu eggs from captive sources, such as emu farms, animal parks or zoos
- carve or decorate captive-sourced eggs
- sell your carved or decorated eggs.
When you don't need a licence
You don’t need a licence to buy carved or decorated emu eggs from an artist or shop, but you should check to see whether the egg was legally sourced.
When you buy a carved or decorated emu egg look for:
- the artist’s licence number, written or etched on the egg (e.g. MWL009999)
- the licence number of the emu farmer, animal park or zoo, written or etched on the egg (e.g. L00500).
Apply for an emu egg carving licence
To apply for a licence, download and fill out the emu Emu Egg Carving Licence Application Form PDF 40KB) and return it via:
- email: email@example.com or
- post to:
National Parks and Wildlife Service
Department of Planning and Environment
Locked Bag 5022
Parramatta NSW 2124
Applicants must nominate the premises where eggs will be carved and/or decorated.
A licence will cost $30 and the licence term is 5 years.
Please allow enough time for your application to be assessed and processed.
Renew or end a licence
We will contact you to remind you to renew your licence before your licence expiry date.
Renewals cost $30 for 5 years.
Renewal of your licence is dependent upon submission of a report of your activities.
Record keeping and reporting
When you renew or end your licence you must submit a report to show how many eggs you bought and sold, and where you sourced them during the licence period.
The Wildlife Team will provide you with a reporting template. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you fail to provide records you may have your licence renewal application refused.
Comply with licence conditions
When you hold a licence to carve or decorate emu eggs to sell you must comply with the Emu Egg Carving Licence Conditions (PDF 37KB).