Updated: Oct 10, 2022
First Nations people across Australia for over 80,000 years have used a large number of tools made of various stones and timber, that all serve a different purpose. Within Aboriginal culture, there are many stories which can be shared through art and creation of these items. Some of the items you may find on this website include:
Axes, knives, and back-blades are just some of the many stone tools that First Nations people have used on a daily basis, allowing them to cut all sorts of timber, prepare animals as a food source, and much more.
Spears were a common weapon used by Australia's First Nations people for hunting animals (kangaroos, emu, etc.), for combat purposes, and as a lightweight hunting tool for fishing.
There are two types of shields used by First Nations people, one designed to block spears and another designed to parry the blow of clubs.
Did you know that not all boomerangs return? There is a common misconception that all boomerangs return to the thrower, however, this is not the case. Boomerangs that are designed to return are referred to as 'returning boomerangs.' These were purely designed and used for recreational purposes. When thrown correctly, the wings of the returning boomerang spin to create unbalanced aerodynamic forces, which cause the boomerang’s path to curve in an elliptical shape, allowing the boomerang to return to the thrower.
There are several types of boomerangs, most of which do not return to the thrower, such as those made for hunting and warfare, or those that are hit together for ceremonial purposes, similar to clapsticks.
Clapsticks are an ancestral instrument that may traditionally accompany the didgeridoo and are used to maintain a rhythm with Aboriginal voice chants during ceremonies or whilst walking ancient songlines. Clapsticks are often made from hardwoods and can be decorated using ochre or burned to create patterns and symbols to tell stories of the Dreamtime.
Yidaki meaning "hollowed by termites" is often accompanied by clapsticks, the Yidaki is a man's only instrument, played to create a rhythm for ceremonies and songs. The yidaki is a traditional instrument from up the top end of Australia. This instrument is created by termites hollowing out the inside to create a channel that allows air to be blown from 1 end to the other.
Coolamons are a traditional tool used to carry fire across campsites and are still used for smoking ceremonies today (a cultural performance where smoke is inhaled as a means to invite people onto country and keep bad spirits away).
The gaanany or nulla-nulla is commonly used in ceremonial dances, as well as for hunting and warfare. Made from various hardwoods, these are usually shaped according to how the maker views them.
Ganai (Digging Stick)
The Ganai is used primarily for digging in the ground for yams and root tubers which are harvested and later eaten. Ganai can be shaped similarly to a club for defense and hunting purposes.
You will find all across Australia, many variations of First Nations Artefacts. These variations are in accordance with the creator of the item, the area from which they are from and the story that it tells.