Australian Aboriginal Traditional Boomerang

Item TB103  

This Item was Sold on 30 July 2008 for $67

Similar artifacts for sale are often found on the Aboriginal Boomerangs web page. 

Historical Pricing information for this item and similar artifacts can be found at: Historical Artifact Prices.

This returning style boomerang was made out of a nearly flawless hardwood elbow. It is decorated with Australian art that is both embossed and incised into the surface. The workmanship is very nice and unusual. I have never seen one like it before. It almost looks like contemporary laser etching work, but this one was purchased in the early 1940s by a nurse who was serving in Darwin, Australia during World War II. The planform and airfoil profiling is very similar to that found on good Aboriginal boomerangs that were made in Queensland. This might be a returnable boomerang if thrown carefully, but it would be better to use it only for display. This is a nice example of a boomerang made for the tourist industry more than 60 years ago. Very good to excellent condition. Span = 52 cm ; Weight = 216 gm

Australian Aborigines are well known for making boomerangs. The majority of the Aborigines had the technology to make throwsticks, or non-returning boomerangs. Only a small percentage of the tribal groups knew how to make true returners and most of these came from the eastern coastal regions of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. During the past century, the majority of the Aborigines came out of the bush and were somewhat assimilated into the European man's culture. Many Aborigines began making returning style boomerangs to sell to tourists. The earliest ones were well made out of natural timber and with the grain following the curvature of the boomerang. Today, most hardwood boomerang are cut out of a large board and the grain is usually straight and running parallel to a line spanning the tips of the blades. Boomerangs that are made with the grain following the contour of the blades are much stronger and more valuable. In addition, some boomerangs have good airfoiling. The majority do not. Most "tourist boomerangs" have painted upper surfaces that display Australian animals and decorative lines and/or geometric patterns. Most pre-contact returners have no artwork or the artwork is simple and scratched into the surface. It is easy to tell the tourist boomerang from the valuable ethnographic artifact. However, tourist boomerangs that are made properly with the grain running along the contour and with good airfoiling and art work do have good collectable value, especially if they are made by a famous Aboriginal artists, like Bill Onus or Joe Timbery.

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