Aboriginal Spears, Wooden Tools and Weapons

The types of wooden artefacts used by Aborigines varied throughout Australia, and shown here are those for the region of coastal and northern Queensland.


Photo of a group of northern aboriginal men and women

Group of northern men and women with painted rainforest shields, long spears, boomerangs and large battle sword-clubs. The men have multiple horizontal cicatrices (scars) over their chests and abdomens. Some women wear necklaces. European clothing has been introduced. Approx 1910. Northern Queensland.

Photo of two aboriginal men with their weapons

Two men with their weapons, a large battle axe, two painted shields, and a boomerang. They wear painted body decoration, necklaces, and waist bands. The man on the right wears a European leather belt (replacing the traditional waist band) and pubic decoration. Cardwell, north Queensland.

Photo of six aboriginal spears from North Queensland

Details of six spears from north Queensland. (a) Mjoberg was told this barb was made from a human shin bone, and it appears similar to those made from a stingray barb. (b) Spear tip made from part of a fish or silurid. (c) Acacia wood spear. (d) Spear with barbs made from echidna quills. (e) Black palm spear. (f) Four pronged spear used to catch fish.

Four pronged wooden spear used to catch eels. Tully River. North Queensland.

Photo of four pronged wooden spear


From left to right: Fish club from Cedar Creek, Spearthrower with shell handle,  Spearthrower with decorated shaft, Music stick.

Photo of fish club, spear throwers and music stick


A throwing club, “nulla nulla”, from Cedar Creek.

Photo of a throwing club, “nulla nulla”, from Cedar Creek


A beautifully painted shield, greater than one metre long, from Harveys Creek, north Queensland. At the top left is beeswax which has been used to fill in and repair gashes in the wood from battle scars.

Photo of a painted, aboriginal shield