Next to kangaroos, the boomerang is probably the next thing that comes to mind when you think of Australia. But what makes a Boomerang "really Australian"?
In this article, we'll answer precisely that question, dive into the history of the Australian boomerang and give you a few things you didn't know about. Finally, we'll show you some "typically Australian" designs for your boomerang.
What Makes a Boomerang an Authentic Australian Boomerang?
An authentic Australian Boomerang takes more than just a simple "made in Australia" tag or the circumstance that it returns to you when you throw it. We believe there are three different ways to declare a boomerang as "authentic Australian": type, design, and location of production.
There are different types of boomerangs: returning ones and non-returning ones. When we speak of authentic Australian, we frequently refer to the type of boomerang that returns to you after you throw it.
Another typical stereotype of "authentic Australian" is the design. Typical here are patterns from the indigenous people of Australia. Yet these stereotypes don't come from anywhere: the boomerang is deeply rooted in Australia's culture and history. It has practically become a symbol of Australia.
It's also interesting that often not only stylish designs were put on the boomerangs, but also spiritual-religious drawings that go hand in hand with the indigenous people's beliefs.
Others mean with "authentic Australian" the boomerang's place of production. Since the boomerang is an ancient weapon and tool of the Aborigines in Australia, many consider a boomerang authentic only if Aborigines still make it according to their custom and tradition.
Australian Boomerangs Facts
Here's a list of facts about the Australian Boomerang that you probably didn't know:
Australian Boomerangs Don’t Always Come Back
Australian Boomerangs don't necessarily come back, even though it’s a well-known cliché that a Boomerang always returns to the thrower. However, the reality is different: just because a Boomerang doesn't return doesn't mean it's broken. The Aborigines have had boomerangs that "by design" should not return.
Those non-returning boomerangs have a different purpose than the ones that return. They were mostly used for combat or hunting. Depending on their purpose, boomerangs came in different shapes and weights.
Australian hunting boomerangs are used more as a "throwing stick". Some boomerangs are thrown more or less like a stick at animals to kill them.
Boomerang Is Not an English Word
The word "Boomerang" found its way into the English language unpredictably. In 1822, the word "boomerang" was adopted into English from the Dharuk language. There are many other terms from Australia's indigenous people's different languages, such as "barragun" or "baracan", both of which also mean boomerang.
However, the word boomerang is not the only one. Terms such as kangaroo, wallaby or wombat, became part of the English language in a similar way.
The Boomerang as a Musical Instrument
The boomerang was used as an instrument to make music in the past. Wildly during rituals and other important aboriginal customs, boomerangs were banged against each other (or against the ground) to make certain sounds. These sounds were part of ritual music—another indication of how important the boomerang was (and still is) to the Australian Native people.
Boomerangs Are Not Necessarily From Australia
You read right. Although it is often assumed that the boomerang originated in Australia, there is evidence that this is simply not true. For example, the University in Tübingen, Germany, has found an ancient throwing weapon near Schönigen, Germany, that they say is over 330,000 years old.
More information about the history of the boomerang in the next section.
Australian Boomerangs History
As mentioned above, possibly the first boomerang known to date was found in Schönigen, Germany. A throwing stick that experts estimate is about 330,000 years old. The throwing stick is considered one of the first, if not the first, prototype of today's boomerang.
The fact is, boomerangs have accompanied humanity for thousands of years. Whether as a weapon for self-defense, war, hunting, or as a ritual companion: the throwing stick was found in the most diverse places worldwide.
For example, boomerangs from the past have been found in Europe, North America, Egypt, India, and other countries and continents. Where the boomerang ultimately came from is unclear. What is clear, however, is that it has enjoyed an incredible surge in popularity through Australia. Hence most people believe that it originated from there.
Today, boomerangs are used mainly for sporting purposes at professional competitions with many disciplines and throwing styles. Boomerang throwing as an organized sport began in the 1970s in Australia and the United States. A national fellowship of throwers in Australia formed the Boomerang Association of Australia in 1970.
Typical Australian Boomerang Designs
In the last part of our article, we would like to present some typical Australian boomerang designs.
The first boomerang we’d like to present to you is the “Waak” boomerang:
The "Waak" is decorated with traditional patterns of Australia's indigenous people and comes with two wings, the most popular form of boomerangs. More information about the "Waak" boomerang here.
The second Boomerang with a classic Australian design is the “Balabalaa”:
The “Balabalaa” has a very unusual shape with four wings. This boomerang is also decorated with traditional Australian aboriginal patterns. Get more information about the ”Balabalaa” here.
The third and last Boomerang we would like to introduce to you in the original Australian design is the "Wankura":
The “Wankura” has three wings and similar patterns to the "Waak". Here you can read more about the "Wankura" Boomerang.
Even though the boomerang may be one of Australia's best-known stereotypes, the idea behind an authentic Australian boomerang is more marketing than reality.
Nonetheless, Australia has done a lot to popularize the boomerang culture and give greater exposure to the boomerang of today.
What's your opinion? Does a boomerang have to be from Australia to pass for a "real" boomerang? What makes an Australian boomerang authentic to you? Tell us in the comments. We look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for reading.