Emu Downs is a rural locality in the Mid North region of South Australia, situated in the Regional Council of Goyder. It was established in August 2000, when boundaries were formalised for the "long established local name". It is located in the cadastral Hundred of Apoinga.
In 1880, the Emu Downs were described as "a vale extending between the Robertstown ranges on the west, and a line of smaller hills on the east. On the western side the country is adapted for sheep, and the stations Anlaby and Koonoona meet. Just within the rainfall line, the crops in most years are fair".
Emu Downs Post Office opened on 1 May 1881, was downgraded to a receiving office on 1 March 1921, upgraded again on 1 July 1927, and closed permanently on 31 December 1973.
Emu Downs Lutheran Church was dedicated in 1876. The first church closed in 1908, with a new church being built in the same year. The second church closed in 1989 and was sold to private buyers; it was severely damaged in a fire but has since been refurbished.
Emu Downs School opened as a Lutheran school as early as 1876. In June 1917, the school was one of 49 "German" schools seized and taken over by the state government in June 1917 as a consequence of World War I, and was reopened in July as a state school. It varied between being classed as a provisional school or primary school in subsequent years depending on numbers, before closing to due to dwindling attendance in 1949. In its final year, the Emu Downs teacher was living in a caravan on the school grounds because he had been expected to walk from the nearest available accommodation, which was four miles away.