Unknown artist / Fighting boomerang (South West Queensland) pre 1900 / Carved and incised hardwood with natural pigment infill / 117.7 x 16 x 3cm / Purchased 2012. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art


Fighting boomerang (South West Queensland) c.1900

Not Currently on Display

This boomerang-like object is, in fact, what early twentieth-century anthropologist Walter E Roth (1861–1933) described as a two-handed sword.

The object originates from the area around Boulia in central western Queensland, where it was known as untitiri. Wielded with both hands, untitiri were potent weapons, which were decorated with fine, rat-tooth-like incisions in bands of parallel lines. The weapons were smoothed, polished and rubbed with charcoal and red ochre, making them valuable items for trade.

Discussion Questions

1. Objects like this one were made as weapons, but they were also used as items for trade. Looking around the gallery, can you see any other objects that may have been used in everyday life?

2. What materials have been used to make these objects? What types of knowledge and skills were needed to create the booomerang?

Classroom Activities

Research some of the different types of tools created by Indigenous people, as well as their various uses. Discuss the materials used to create these objects.