After kangaroos, the boomerang is probably the first idea that comes to mind when you think of Australia. But what makes a boomerang 'truly Australian'?
Gaulish throwing stick found in Normandy
In this article we will answer this question precisely, dive into the history of the Australian boomerang and give you some information you didn't know. Finally, we will show you some "typical Australian" boomerang designs.
There is more to a genuine Australian boomerang than just a 'made in Australia' label or the fact that it comes back to you when you throw it. We believe there are three different ways to declare a boomerang 'authentically Australian': the type, the design and the place of production.
There are different types of boomerangs: those that come back and those that don't. When we talk about Australian authenticity, we often refer to the type of boomerang that comes back to you after you throw it.
Another typical stereotype of authentic Australian is the patterns. These designs of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia are typical here. However, these stereotypes do not come from nowhere: the boomerang is deeply rooted in Australian culture and history. It has practically become a symbol of Australia.
It is also interesting to note that boomerangs are often not only adorned with elegant designs, but also with spiritual and religious designs that go hand in hand with the beliefs of Aboriginal people.
Others refer to the place of production of the boomerang as 'authentic Australian'. As the boomerang is an ancient Australian Aboriginal weapon and tool, many consider a boomerang to be authentic only if the Aborigines still make it according to their customs and traditions.
Facts about Australian boomerangs:
Here is 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 always come back: it's a well-known cliché that a boomerang always comes back to its thrower. However, the reality is different: just because a boomerang doesn't come back doesn't mean it's broken or badly designed. The Aborigines had boomerangs that, "by design", were not supposed to return.
These non-returning boomerangs had a different purpose to those that did return. They were mainly used for fighting or hunting. Depending on their use, boomerangs had different shapes and weights.
Australian hunting boomerangs are used more as 'throwing sticks'. Some boomerangs are thrown more or less like a stick at animals to stun or kill them.
Boomerang is not really an English word
The word "Boomerang" made its way into the English language in an unpredictable way. In 1822, the word "boomerang" was adopted into English from the Dharuk language. There are many other terms from the different languages of the indigenous peoples of Australia, such as 'barragun' or 'baracan', which also mean 'boomerang'. Not all tribes in Australia knew the boomerang.
However, the word boomerang is not the only one. Terms such as kangaroo, wallaby or wombat have entered the English language in a similar way.
The boomerang can also be used as a musical instrument:
In the past, the boomerang was used as an instrument to make music. In rituals and other important Aboriginal customs, two boomerangs were struck against each other (or against the ground) to produce certain sounds. These sounds were part of the ritual music - another indication of the importance that the boomerang had (and still has) for Australian Aborigines.
Boomerangs don't necessarily come from Australia:
You read that right. Although it is often assumed that the boomerang originated in Australia, there is evidence that this is simply not the only origin. For example, the University of Tübingen, Germany, found an ancient throwing weapon near Schönigen, Germany, that is believed to be over 330,000 years old.
More information on the history of the boomerang can be found on the next page.
History of the Australian boomerang
The boomerangs of a pharaoh
The fact is that boomerangs have accompanied human history for thousands of years. Whether as a weapon of self-defence, decoy, hunting or ritual companion, the throwing stick has been found in the most diverse places in the world.
For example, ancient boomerangs have been found in Europe, North America, Egypt, India and other countries and continents. The origin of the boomerang is not clear. What is clear, however, is that it was popularised and became an iconic item because it was still being used by the Aborigines when the British discovered Australia. Most people therefore believe that it originated in Australia.
Today, boomerangs are mainly used for sporting purposes in professional competitions with many disciplines and throwing styles. Boomerang throwing as an organised sport began in the 1970s in Australia and the United States. A national association of throwers in Australia formed the Boomerang Association of Australia in 1970.
Typical Australian boomerang models:
In the last part of our article we would like to present some typical Australian boomerang designs.
The first boomerang we would like to introduce is the "Waak" boomerang:
The "Waak" is decorated with traditional designs of the indigenous people of Australia
of Australia, it is a two-bladed boomerang, the most classic form of traditional
traditional boomerangs. More information on the Waak boomerang here.
The second boomerang with Australian designs is the "Balabalaa":
The "Balabalaa" has a very unusual shape with four wings. This boomerang is also decorated with traditional Australian Aboriginal designs. To find out more about the 'Balabalaa', click here.
The third and final boomerang we would like to introduce to you with original Australian designs is the "Wankura":
The "Wankura" has three wings and patterns similar to the "Waak". You
read more about the "Wankura" Boomerang here.
Even though the boomerang is one of the most famous clichés in Australia,
the idea of an authentic Australian boomerang is more marketing
than reality. Nevertheless, Australia has done much to
popularise the boomerang culture and give greater exposure to the
to the boomerang today to people who visit its territory.
What is your opinion? Does a boomerang have to originate in Australia
to pass for a "real" boomerang? What makes a boomerang
boomerang authentic to you? Tell us in the comments.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for reading.