Wooden Artifacts

Apart from stone, the major material used by the Aboriginals for implements was wood. Pre-European wooden objects are comparatively rare, because over time wood burns or rots. Wooden implements in the Museum’s collection are of fairly recent origin, and some were actually made as gifts for local settlers who had been befriended by Gumbainggirr people.


The Museum collection consists of six lightweight spears, all but one being of cane with hardwood tips. The other spear is made from a single piece of wood. Unfortunately, we are unsure of the origin of our spears. Some are definitely not from the Bellinger Valley, but more research needs to be done.


We have four boomerangs. They are of the familiar curved shape, but are of non-returning type. Two are known to have come from the Northern Territory, and the other two are believed to be local. They would have been used when hunting waterfowl.


We have a heelamon; a lightweight oval shield used for deflecting spears. The heelamon is made from the wood of the Giant Stinging Tree (Dendrocnide sp.), and the light wood absorbs  a certain amount of impact while still being light enough to  manoeuvre quickly.

Other Items of Interest

We have a hollow object which is reputed to be an Aboriginal bucket, and a Didgeridoo (Yidaki) which has been identified by a gentleman from the Yolgnu tribe of Arnhem Land as having come from the Gunbalanya people. The Gunbalanya live in Kakadu, near the area of the Jabiru uranium mine. The Yidaki is quite old, but was made post-white settlement. We have no idea how it came to be in Bellingen. We also have a club (Nulla nulla), which is made of very dense, hard timber.