Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Australian Woomera

Recently, I have been rewriting some articles on primitive weapons to include the tools etc. of the Australian Aboriginals. The Woomera or spear thrower in Oz comes in many shapes and styles. In my research, I found that the woomera is named after the wing of the fruit bat or flying fox due, to the prominent hook on the end. My favorite ones are the woomeras from western Australia, basically the Swiss army knife of spear throwers.

Records show that the implement began to be used about 5000 years ago. It is still used today in some remote areas of Australia. Like spears and boomerangs, woomeras were traditionally used only by men. Some woomeras, especially those used in the central and western Australian deserts, were multi-purpose tools.

Often shaped like long narrow bowls, they could be used for carrying water-soaked vegetable matter (which would not spill and could later be sucked for its moisture) as well as small food items such as little lizards or seeds. Many woomeras had a sharp stone cutting edge attached to the end of the handle with black gum from the triodia plant. This sharp tool had many uses, such as cutting up game or other food and wood. It is supposed that the woomera could be used as a shield for protection against spears and boomerangs.

See you on the trail!


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