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Old Paper Label Attached Inscribed: ‘Made by the Natives of South Australia Bought Home by H.R.H. The Duke of York’
Old Smooth Dry Patina
Mid 19th Century
SIZE: 54cm wide – 21¼ ins wide
Ex Private Norfolk collection 1955 – 2014
SEE: Finch & Co catalogue no. 22, item no. 53, for a 19th Century New Zealand Gold Mounted Maire wood stock whip presented to H.R.H. Duke of Edinburgh in 1869
Three ancient boomerangs were recovered from a South Australian peat quarry and dated to 8th Century BC, which suggests that the Aboriginal boomerang is the oldest in the World. The lighter returning boomerangs such as this example with thin broad blades and a sharp ‘elbow’ were used for hunting water birds on the lakes and waterways of South Eastern South Australia, Southern New South Wales and Victoria. When thrown low over waterfowl at streams or swamps the shadow of the boomerang resembles that of a swooping hawk serving to scare the birds to fly into prepared nets.
The carving of boomerangs was exclusively a male activity and before the advent of plentiful metal tools, they were cut using stone axes and adze and then finished with a stone or shell scraper. The subtle variation in size, form and decoration of Australian boomerangs mirrors the social and physical diversity of the Aboriginal people across the Country.