A wooden boomerang with decorative flowers and a kangaroo.  This is a curved stick thrown through the air and most famously associated with Indigenous Australian people (Aboriginal people). However, though some of the Australian boomerangs date back ten thousand years boomerangs much older have been found in Europe.  It is believed that the boomerang originated from a flying stick used in hunting or as a weapon in war. Many Egyptian cave paintings feature hunters with boomerangs.  Wooden and ivory boomerangs tipped with gold were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun.

In England we call this flying stick a boomerang but in Australia it is also called a Kylie or Kiley.  Boomerangs are made from a branch or root of a tree that has a natural curve already to it.  Originally, they would have been carved with animal teeth as well as burning and painting for decoration.  Boomerang decoration may depict legends, land ownership, traditions or family designs. These boomerangs are still used today by the Indigenous Australian People in ceremonies and clapped together in musical accompaniment.

The boomerang is held at shoulder height, the thrower holds onto one end & twists while throwing the boomerang rapidly.

There are two types of boomerangs:

Returning boomerang – a curved shaped object that when thrown into the air will circle and return to land near to the thrower. Originally made in wood these days this type of boomerang is designed in lighter materials like carbon, foam and plastic. Being lighter they are ideal as children’s toys.

Non-returning – designed to travel in one direction mainly for hunting purposes. Are less curved as returning boomerangs and are also much heavier.

More information:

Date 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s
Material(s) Wood
Item number MBPO339

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • Do you own a wooden boomerang from Australia?
  • Have you ever flown a boomerang or a lighter more modern one?
  • Have you ever travelled to Australia or have you any relatives that currently live there?

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