Australian Icon

Australian Icon

An Aboriginal Original

As pickers, we drive a large, gray Sprinter van up and down the Atlantic states. When we pull in to our shop in Brandon, Vermont, everyone in the village – as well as people driving along Route 7 – can see the truck and know we're back with another load.

I was going to write that it's like the Wells Fargo wagon coming to town. But, alas, that once quaintly wholesome reference is now irredeemable in light of recent events.

Suffice to say the Sprinter draws folks into our antique shop to see our latest finds. And sometimes people approach us with items they want us to buy.  Such was the case with Robert S., who showed up with a magnificent "returning" boomerang. Its color, patina, texture and supple curving lines captivated us.

An aside: We have found that many lovely "ethnic" objects were traded only after they've lost their usefulness or developed bad juju. We have acquired many such objects over the years…but so far no bad juju.

We know nothing about boomerangs, but to our admittedly untrained eye the craftsmanship, weight and chipping marks suggested it was made by an Aborigine for his own use.  But again -- what do we know?

Robert told us it was given to him in 1956 by Burt H.  A silk salesman between the wars, Burt traveled on steamships, plying his silks throughout the English-speaking world.  He acquired this marvelous specimen on a trip to Australia around 1925.

Everyone knows what a boomerang is, right?  Yes and no. 

There are "one way" boomerangs, called kylies, developed around 9,000 years ago, and used:

  1. To kill or stun prey
  2. As a battle weapon
  3. For ceremonial purposes (when highly decorated)

Then there are "returning" boomerangs, such as the specimen we acquired, which are used in marshes to frighten birds into waiting nets. These boomerangs are only a few hundred years old, and make up only a small percentage of Aboriginal boomerangs. Generally they are:

  1. Utterly plain except for the random chipping pattern from the stone carving tool
  2. 26” from tip to tip
  3. Made of hard woods like Mulga
  4. Made by coastal clans

We love when a Found Object like this finds us and provides the opportunity to learn something new.

Oh yes, we purchased the boomerang from Robert.  Thank you, Robert!  

Found Objects Ltd.