Probably western Queensland

Not on view

Artists in western Queensland created delicately engraved boomerangs adorned with geometric designs. This boomerang has been attributed to the region of Boulia in central western Queensland, on Pitta Pitta Country. According to one nineteenth-century account, among the Pitta-Pitta people the shallow, semicircular motifs infilled with fine diagonal lines that are seen on this boomerang are said to resemble the fine surface ripples on a body of water striking the bank and are called nar-pi ming-ka-ra, "riverbank marks." The narrow lozenge-shaped motifs that comprise the central lines are known as ma-li ming-ka-ra, "fishnet marks," and reportedly evoke the form of large fishnets folded up for travel. Knowledge of water and its sources are essential for survival in Australia, particular in the arid inland areas of western Queensland and Central Australia.

Contrary to popular belief, not all boomerangs were made to return when thrown. Boomerangs in western Queensland were used for both hunting and fighting. When thrown from distances of up to 100 yards, boomerangs were capable of incapacitating game such as kangaroos and emus. They also serve as effective weapons during combat. The markedly pointed ends on this work are commonly seen on boomerangs from this area and were purely decorative, created to enhance the beauty rather than the aerodynamics of the implement.

Boomerang, Wood, pigment, Probably western Queensland

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