There are two types of boomerang, returning and non-returning. The returning boomerang was invented by Australian Aborigines thousands of years ago. This ingenious development of the returning boomerang was a remarkable achievement unique to Australia. Boomerangs have been found and carbon dating has proven that they are over 10,000 years old.
To make a good returning boomerang required experience in selecting the right branch of the tree and patience and skill in shaping it to the desired curve and thickness. The wood was heated and bent over the fire until it assumed the right degree of longitudinal twist so that the two arms were in different planes
A returning boomerang is used for the sport of throwing or for catching animals. The Aborigines trapped birds by hanging nets between groups of trees. As a flock of birds flew over the nets, the Aborigines would throw their boomerangs in such a way that they would hover over the birds like a bird of prey. The birds would swoop to miss the predator and get caught in the nets. Because of its wide arc of flight, the returning boomerang was never used in warfare.
The non-returning boomerang, because it struck with greater force and could be thrown further, was used both in hunting and warfare. There are a few variations of the non-returning boomerang:-
HOOK BOOMERANG: This is a true fighting weapon, first choice of a warrior! Also used for digging and cutting carcasses.
CLUB BOOMERANG: Likened to a hammer, this boomerang was used in warfare and also for clubbing animals and this type was widely used by the Aboriginals.
HUNTER/KILLER BOOMERANG: The uses are wide and varied for this type of boomerang, some of which include hunting game, tapped together to accompany music, digging, clearing fire sites, unearthing ants and lizards, cutting/opening animals and scraping ash from baked food.
Michael J Connolly