Decorated and Signed Traditional Boomerang Made by Joe Timbery

Item TB56 

This item was sold on 19 June 2006 for $53

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

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 white man's economic system. 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 artwork do have good collectable value, especially if they are made by a famouns Aboriginal artist like Bill Onus or Joe Timbery.

This boomerang is a small sized returning boomerang made by Joe Timbery, one of the most famous boomerang makers of the 20th Century. Joe made boomerangs in LaPerouse, a suburb of Sydney where many Aborigines live. Joe made everything from low end tourist boomerangs for Duncan McClennan's Sydney Boomerang School to beautiful works of art made out of fantastic natural elbows and painted like fine bark paintings. This one is made out of plywood and decorated with hot poker art depicting a kangaroo as well as other Aboriginal art. The tips have an reddish stain. The airfoiling is correct for a right handed thrower. This one is expected to be a reasonable good returner. The underside of both tips have leading edge beveling for a right handed bias. The underside of the elbow has " Aboriginal Sydney Australia " with Joe's named signed in pyrography. Boomerangs with Joe's signature are quite uncommon. This one was probably made in the 1950s or early 1960s. The end of one of the tips has several compression dings. These can be sanded smooth prior to use. This one would display nicely on the wall. Length = 35 cm. Weight = 52 gm.

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