Historical information

This sawfish rostrum (saw) was once the nose piece of a sawfish, which is a type of ray. Sawfish are also referred to as carpenter sharks although they are not from the shark family. Sawfish use their rostrum to access their food or pray by moving their heads from sided to side. They also use their rostrum as a defensive weapon. Some sawfish can grow as long as seven metres. They inhabit tropical and subtropical waters of the ocean, rivers and estuaries. They can live from 25 up to even 30 years.

The pair of sawfish rostrum was originally in the Collection of the old Warrnambool Museum and Art Gallery of the 1880s to 1960s. It was transferred to Flagstaff Hill in the 1970s. The museum had a collection of animal specimens from all over the world.


The pair of sawfish rostrum is significant for its association with the old Warrnambool Museum and Art Gallery. The museum called on the public to donate a huge variety of items. People in the 19th century were excited about travel and the world opened up opportunities to discover and learn about 'curiosities' from other cultures.

Physical description

Sawfish nose piece or rostrum, one of a pair. Shape is long, flat and tapering to a rounded end, with pointy thorn-like teeth around the perimeter.