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Facts on Australian Boomerangs

Updated November 21, 2016

Many people who enjoy playing around with boomerangs may not know the history of the flat flying devices. Australia's indigenous peoples, the Aborigines, used boomerangs for hunting rather than bows and arrows. Although it is uncertain exactly where boomerangs were first created, the hunting aids have been commonplace in Aboriginal cultures for thousands of years.

Identification

Aboriginal boomerangs are heavy hunting sticks with curved shapes. Boomerangs may have come about accidentally as a result of hunters during the Stone Age attempting to get flat throwing sticks to move through the air in a straight, forward motion.

Name

The first written record of the boomerang in Australia dates to 1822, where the tool was spelt as "boumarang." A multitude of different Aboriginal dialects are in existence. However, in the Turawal tribe's tongue (from the Sydney area), the name translates as "a throwing stick that returns."

Varieties

In Australia, seven varieties of boomerangs are known. These boomerangs are the "cross," "returning," "Y-shape," "U-shape," "hook," "club" and "hunting" boomerangs. Different kinds of boomerangs come from different parts of the vast nation. For example, the "cross" type is local to Tully, a tiny town in Queensland.

Technique

To achieve optimal throwing of a boomerang, vertical and straight movements work well, rather than horizontal and flat ones. When the boomerang returns to the thrower, it will change (as it spins) to horizontal. Use your right hand to throw a boomerang properly, and grab it tightly near its edges.

Geography

Australia's Aboriginal world is large and varied. The boomerang is most common in the southern and eastern portions of the country, and the Aborigines of other parts (from Western Australia to Tasmania) have historically been unfamiliar with it.

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