Michael Backman Ltd - Home

Aboriginal Mulga Wood Spear Thrower (Woomera)
Western Desert, Western Australia
circa 1940

height: 77cm, width: 11cm

This woomera is a fine example of the Australian Aboriginal spear-throwing device. A spear would be hooked onto the woomera and then 'launched' from the
woomera which acted to extend the effective length of the arm so that the spear would be thrown with greater force.

Of native mulga wood, it shows plenty of chipping marks most probably caused by having been fashioned from a piece of wood using a sharpened piece of
flint as a chisel.

An animal tooth or claw most probably from a kangaroo has been attached via native twine to the tip to aid with spear throwing.

The base of the handle is wrapped with probably with black gum from the triodia plant to provide a rounded sphere to aid with flicking the spear off the
woomera.  It is decorated with incised designs which possibly indicate the tribe or 'skin' of its owner.

Woomeras were used by men only - hunting for wallabies and kangaroos was very much considered 'men's business'. Interestingly, the rocket launching
range in South Australia was named Woomera after the Aboriginal device.

Provenance: UK art market.

Inventory no.: 1032

: This item is accompanied by a custom-made stand.

This Item is available -
Ask about this item