Weapons and tools for many purposes

Aboriginals use weapons and tools in a variety of ways. Often separated into two groups - those that are used to hunt and gather foodstuffs and those used purely for ceremonial purposes - Aboriginal weapons and tools are sophisticated and practical. The materials that were used to construct many weapons are site-specific with particular regions giving rise to specialised tools.

The Eora of the Woollahra municipal area used complex stone axes, chisels, saws and knives and mounted them on wooden handles. Some of these tools were all purpose wood carving and working devices, with others being smaller scalpel-shaped spear points and knives used in preparation of foods or the construction of baskets, nets or shelters.

The Sydney Basin contains many sites that were used in the manufacturing of weapons and receptacles. The sandstone of the area is perfect for grinding and finishing tools and grinding grooves are visible on many rock outcrops. Receptacles and dishes are also found carved into various surfaces and these were used for storage and in food and ceremony preparation.

stone adzes

A wide variety of tools were developed for a range of purposes. Commonly tribal groups would use spears, boomerangs, nets, traps and axes. There is a complex understanding of physics and aerodynamics in the creation of the boomerang, spear and the bullroarer and it is not surprising that they have become famous representations of aboriginal technology. Many tools are also used for ceremonial purposes. An example is the nulla nulla - a bulbous-headed weapon used in fighting, hunting and in ceremonies of the Dreaming. Particular roles in the ceremonies determined the tools to be utilised and often they became spiritual and sacred objects.