Aboriginal weapons can be divided into 6 main types being spears, spear throwers, clubs, shields, boomerangs and sorcery. Aboriginal weapons are collectable and some can be quite valuable. Collectable value depends on Age rarity condition and beauty. Many aboriginal weapons are for hunting as well as warfare. A boomerang or spear and spear thrower can be use to hunt game but objects like shields and clubs really have only one purpose.
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There is a vast variation in size, form, decoration and function of Australian Aboriginal Weapons. This reflects the social and cultural diversity of Aboriginal people across Australia who had over 200 language groups. In some regions large boomerangs were the preferred weapon while in other areas clubs and parrying shields.
Aboriginal feud and warfare is not covered in this article.
Aboriginal Weapons : Spears
Most aboriginal spears are made from saplings or vine that have been straightened over a fire while still green. A wooden barb or stone spear tip is attached using kangaroo sinew and spinifex resin. The opposite end is then tapered to fit onto a spear thrower. When completed the spear is usually between 2.5 and 3 metres long.
The majority of aboriginal spears are not very collectable because they do not display well but there is some notable exceptions. On the Tiwi Islands the spear has become a ceremonial object and is intricately carved and painted. The Torres Strait is the only part of Australia to have used a bow and arrow and the anthropomorphic arrows are highly collectable
Aboriginal Weapon Spear thrower : Woomera: Spearthrower
The aboriginal spear thrower is an ingenious device that allows a spear to be thrown far further and more accurately than it could by hand alone. There were six main types of spear thrower in Aboriginal Australia and are covered in my article Aboriginal spear throwers. Many spear throwers were used for hunting but they were also used in times of tribal fighting. Some spear throwers were even used to deflect incoming spears as well as throw them
Aboriginal weapons : Shields
Aboriginal shields are the most collectable of all the aboriginal weapons. This is because they are often covered in the most intricate designs and show the highest levels of workmanship. There are seven main types of Aboriginal shield and are covered in a separate article. There are two main category of shield. They were either designed to block projectile weapons like spears or boomerangs or they were designed to parry a blow from a club.
Aboriginal Weapons Boomerangs
Many boomerangs were made predominantly for hunting game but some boomerangs were made specifically for Warfare. Most notable are the number 7 or killer boomerang from Central Australia which is designed to hook onto an opponents parrying shield and swing in behind it doing massive damage and the Lake Eyre fighting boomerangs that can be up to 2 mertres long and are used in close quarters combat.
There are 12 main catagories of Aboriginal boomerang and they are covered in more detail in my article
Aboriginal Weapons Clubs
Three main catagories of Aboriginal Clubs were used in warfare. Throwing Clubs were used as lethal projectiles and made specifically to be thrown. Sword clubs are flat in profile and bludgeoning clubs. There is a large variety of Aboriginal clubs that is covered in a separate article from different regions. Aboriginal clubs vary from not very collectable sticks with a crudely cut hand grip to intricately carved weapons with wonderful forms.
Aboriginal Weapons Sorcery
In western society we do not think of sorcery as a weapon but in Aboriginal Australia it was just as deadly. There were many different cultural practises most of which are secret or sacred and will not discussed here but two well known art forms can be discussed. The pointing bone was used by a traditional man of knowledge and if pointed at someone would cause them to grow sick and then die. Another stealth weapon associated with sorcery is the Kadaicha Shoes which allowed the wearer to leave no footprints and not be heard. A feather foot or Kadaicha man could enter a sleeping campsite kill you and leave without a trace.