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National Museum of Australia

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Boomerang with incised design from Hermannsburg, 1951

2012.0022.0001

Boomerang with incised design from Hermannsburg, 1951

Object information

Physical description

A wooden boomerang with an incised design of horizontal grooves on the upper surface. In the centre these are intersected by two vertical grooves.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of seven wooden items purchased by Barrie Hadlow and Jenny Hadlow during separate trips to Central Australia during the 1950s, and a photo album documenting Barrie Hadlow's 1951 trip. Barrie Hadlow bought the boomerang and shield in 1951, and then the club/digging stick in 1955-57 from Aboriginal men on the outskirts of Hermannsburg, while Jenny Hadlow purchased the spear and two decorated wooden items from Curtin Springs in 1957.

The various incised, pokerwork and scorping designs on these objects are a valuable record of regional iconography and design aesthetics, especially the changes in historical practices brought about by the introduction of new tools and materials. While both Barrie and Jenny collected these objects under similar circumstances - as travel souvenirs purchased in the same year from locations around 200km apart - the two different areas from which these objects came offer a dynamic comparison within this collection. Hermannsburg and Curtin Springs have had radically divergent legacies, especially within wider Australian awareness.

Object information

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