Unknown artist / QLD/NSW/SA / 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

 

Unknown
Fighting boomerang (South West Queensland) c.1900

On Display: GOMA, Gallery 3.5

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.