weapons and tools
Weapons and Tools
Ngadjonji History of
the Rainforest People
Note: this site
contains images of aboriginal people now
|Some of the tools that the Ngadjonji produced from the materials of the forest and used to help them in obtaining and preparing food and in other ways to make their lives more secure and comfortable are introduced in this page.|
|The Ngadjonji made a
great variety of spear types and were
highly skilled in their use.
Straight lengths of lighter hardwoods such as jiman were favoured for shafts, though in recent years bamboo has become an acceptable substitute for lighter spears.
The spear points were usually made from the very hard wood of jidu, julu or junjum. These were further hardened by burning in a fire and scraping off the charred surface to form the point.
Points were attached to the shafts using fine split-lawyercane binding and special resins. There were many different designs for spear points and their arrangement on the shaft - each for its particular purpose.
Heavy killing spears for hunting large animals or serious fighting would have a single point and were often (shaft and point) made from a single length of hardwood. Fishing spears and spears for hunting smaller animals and birds were lighter and often had multiple points.
The Ngadjonji were very adept in the use of spear-throwers (woomeras) which were used to greatly increase the force and speed of the throw.
Swords were made of much harder wood from trees such as jidu and junjum.
Boomerang by George Davis; Photo - M.Huxley
|Stone axes were
highly-prized and very useful tools for the
The stone axe head was ground to an edge at each end with a groove ground around the middle for the strap which attached the head to the handle.
The handles were usually made from the robust lawyercanes jungganyu or nidu. A strap of the handle cane was wrapped around the central groove in the head and bound in place using strips of yapulam or barrga. (See Lawyercanes)
String was used for body decoration, ties of various sorts, and could be woven into taps for fish and birds as an alternative to the lawyercanes.
Grinding stones were also used to powder the variously coloured ochres which were used for painting traditional patterns on shields and other wooden artefacts. (See Making a Shield)
Grinding stones & grater courtesy Eacham Historical Society; Photos - K.Mackay
|Other important tools
for the Ngadjonji included baskets of
various kinds (see Basketmaking),
lawyercane traps for catching ground-dwelling birds, eels and other
fish, pointed hardwood digging sticks for yams and other food roots,
ringing hardwood clapping sticks, firesticks (see Fire)
and carved & painted message sticks used to invite surrounding
tribes to a warrima.
More information on the tools and weapons of the North Queensland rainforest Aborigines can be found in Aboriginal Tools of the Rainforest by the Aboriginal people of Jumbun, compiled and photographed by Helen Pedley.