Bunjil Park Aboriginal Education and Cultural Centre
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the place now called Victoria, and all First Peoples living and working on this land. We celebrate the history and contemporary creativity of the world’s oldest living culture and pay respect to Elders — past, present and future.
Please be aware that this website may contain culturally sensitive material — images, voices and information provided by now deceased persons. Content also may include images and film of places that may cause sorrow.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain culturally sensitive material — images, voices and information provided by now deceased persons. Content also may include images and film of places that may cause sorrow.
Some material may contain terms that reflect authors’ views, or those of the period in which the item was written or recorded but may not be considered appropriate today. These views are not necessarily the views of Victorian Collections.
Users of this site should be aware that in many areas of Australia, reproduction of the names and photographs of deceased people is restricted during a period of mourning. The length of this time varies and is determined by the community.
Reuse of any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander material on this site may require cultural clearances. Users are advised to contact the source organisation to discuss appropriate reuse.
Bunjil Park Aboriginal Education and Cultural Centre
this flaked stone tool clearly shows the difference between the original rock surface and hand worked surfaces with clear percussive chip marks.
large flaked tool
This hand held greenstone axe has been roughened for grip at one end and sharpened to a smooth square edge.
A set of 3 sharpening stones found on site at Bunjil Park. They are fine sandstone and range from 18cm to 19.5cm long and 4 to 6 cm wide.
This greenstone hand held hammer is sharpened to a fine curved cutting edge at one end and is chipped for grip at the other - It would suit a large hand.
This greenstone axe has a hand grip chipped on one end and a smooth arc shaped cutting edge.
This compound wooden spear with separate head, barb and tail is bound with resin and sinew. The tail is bound at an angle of 20 degrees to the shaft.
This short wooden barbed spear (138.5cm) has the head and tail bound separately to the shaft using sinew and resin. The tail is angled at about 20 degrees to the shaft. The barb is also bound to the head with sinew at 9cm from the spear tip.
This wooden spear has separate tip, barb and tail extensions bound by sinew and resin. The spear head is flattened on the barb side and sharpened to a fine point. The side opposite the barb is convex. The shaft has a tail extension which is 25cm long and bound with resin and sinew to the shaft at an angle of 20 degrees.
The head has a subtle cross hatch design between the barb and the neck.
This wooden spear has the tip and spear shaft fashioned from one piece of wood. Sinew and resin are used to reinforce the neck of the spear. The tip is flattened and barbed. The barb is bound to the tip with sinew.
This wooden spear has the sharped head bound to the shaft separately using sinew and resin. The barb on the spear head is also bound with sinew. A 3cm long section of sinew and resin hold the spearhead to the shaft
This wooden hunting and fighting club is 46cm long. The club end is cone shaped with a sharp point
This type of implement is used to gather food or if large enough, to carry a baby. The size of this item suggested it could have been used for either purpose. This is a women s implement.
A bowl shaped dish, decorated with a witchety grub design.
Witchety grub motive characteristic of the Central Desert tribes.
coolamon dish, aboriginal wooden implements, central desert tribes.
.This stone was attached to a handle and possibly used to collect yabbies and shellfish from water holes
A Basalt digging stone with a blunted edge shaped to a smooth curve. One side is flat and trhe other is convex. This item has 1 groove at the wide end for attaching a handle.
basalt digging stone, jarra, aboriginal stone tools,
Uncle Brien says this tool was used for collecting yabbies and mussles from water holes.
This stone has been worked to a smooth curve around the edge , is flat on one side and curved on the other. The stone has 2 grooves carved on the blunt end for attaching a handle. This tool is similar to 0016.
basalt digging stone, jaara, aboriginal stone tools.
This type of rock was used to make sharp scraping tools and spear ends.
This fist sized block of silcrete is yellow white and shows percussion marks in indentations where chips have been knocked off for use.
This stone axe was given to George Nelson as a prize for winning the Stawell gift.
This stone axe has a cutting edge smoothed to a sharp arc and the body of the stone has concave depressions formed by stricking during the shaping process.
This stone was held by a European family for 200 years and was found on the family farm. It was gifted to Uncle Brien Nelson in Castlemaine. This implement could be many thousands of years old. This unusually large axe head would not have been carried from place to place and was probably hidden for occasional use crafting large objects.
This stone axe head is shaped to a sharpened rounded edge at one end and is broad and blunt at the other end. It is an elongated teardrop shape in cross section. It has a distinctive waist in the middle where the haft was attached using hide and or fibre.
This axe displays grooves caused by a disk plough.
jaara, heavy stone axe head
This map shows the area around Lake Condah including the land identified as Aboriginal Reserves. Aboriginal people including the Jaara were forcibly removed from their country and resettled in reserves like this.
This map is significant as it shows one of the areas that Jaara people were forcibly removed to from their homelands.
This wooden shield was used in hand to hand fighting between Jaara people and other tribes and with European settlers. It was made for personal use by one warrior and would have been passed on to his next nearest male kin. If it did not fit them, it would have been placed with the body of the warrior.
This shied was gifted to Uncle Brien Nelson when he was working in Portland.
This wooden fighting shield is undecorated and fashioned for use in either the left or right hand. It is elongated finishing in points at the top and bottom. It is carved from a single piece of wood and has a handle carved into the back.
The shield has some minor striations on the front which may have been produced during fighting
Boomerangs of this sort were used for up close hunting with short throws and clubbing. This contemporary piece illustrates some fine art work. This piece was commissioned by Uncle Brien Nelson, Jaara Elder to preserve and pass on Jaara culture.
This boomerang is in the form usually used for clubbing prey up close rather than long flight or returning. It has a gentle arc about 3 cm deep over its 49 cm length.
This piece is beautifully decorated with a traditional Jaara design incorporating a blue tongue lizard motive.
boomerang, decorated, jaara, close up hunting, blue tongue lizard
A hunter uses this tool to throw a spear in front of a fleeing animal, skillfully intercepting it so that it is speared on the run. The size of the groove and spear holder indicate this woomera was made for light weight hunting spears not for warfare. Elders and young warriors carried these with them and each man made his own to suite his strength and body size. They were used when the need and opportunity for fresh meat arose. Woomeras were used by men.
This is the only Jaara woomera in the collection and is a significant tool used in the on going search for food. It is a mens tool.
This woomera is undecorated. At the broad end there is a small hook like protrusion which holds the spear in place before throwing. The narrow end has a tapered waist with bulb to assist grip and a shallow groove to help guide the spear. The overall shape is an elongated hollowed single piece of timber.
There are no inscriptions, the wood is strong with a prominent grain pattern.
wood, jaara, tool, woomera, throwing stick, mens business, hunting
Grindstones like this were not carried but hidden in special places with subtle indicators known only to the same tribe or nation. The small and deep nature of the pits suggests this rock may have been used for ochre with the smaller pits being used for water or fat to mix with the pigments. The very hard and dense nature of the rock means materials would not be contaminated during the grinding process.
This rock is likely to be very old and is potentially significant from ceremonial perspective. Stones like this have been known to be passed on through multiple generations and been in use for hundreds and possibly thousands of years.
This grindstone has hollows on both sides. One large hollow on one side measures approximately 7 cm across and 2 cm deep. The opposite side is distinguished by 3 pits, one large (5 cm wide by 3 cm deep) and two small indentations 2cm by 1cm. The hollows have been chipped and smoothed. The base rock is in the shape of a flattened and slightly elongated sphere, it appears to have been water worn.
The side with three pits also bears recent scratches believed to be cut by a disk plough. It also appears to have a capital "W" inscribed in the largest pit.
jaara, hidden, grindstone, ochre, quartzite, multiple hollows, pits, aboriginal food and art
Greenstone hammer approx. 4 inches at sharp end of stone with rough hewn end approx 3 inches with prominent raised areas that appear to enhance grip.
No are no inscriptions but the raised markings appear to be deliberately poisitioned for firmer grip.
Early twenthieth century photograph taken of wood cutters in the Barmah Forest clearing their work area of snakes (type) before staring to log area. The wood was then burned to make charcoal to supply Maroopna hospital furnaces. Man holding gun is George Nelson Snr. accompanied by some of his relatives before starting to cut wood. This occupation was undertaken during the depression.
This is a photocopy of a rare photograph showing the type of work that was available to Aboriginal men in the depression.
A photocopy of an early 20th. century photograph of Jaara and Yorta men clearing an area of snakes (type) in the Barmah Forest. There are four men standing behind a a raided log draped with hundreds of dead snakes. The man on the left holding the shot gun is George Nelson Snr. There are three other men to his left from the Jaara and Yorta people.
aboriginal, forest, trees, indigenous, 1930s, aboriginal occupations, wood cutting, barmah forest, snakes, depression, shot gun
boomerang made from Murray River Red Gum timber. decorated boomerang, used for killing low flying ducks. Each end has a black tip with white cross hatching. Animal painted decorations from left to right are: black snake with yellow stripes, ochre platypus, black coloured kangaroo, yellow turtle, black, ochre and white wavy lines followed by a red snake with black and white stripes.
On reverse apex of boomerang burnt into timber "Murray River / Red Gum"
platypus, boomerang, river, decorated, hunting tool, snake, turtle, kangaroo, creek, duck hunting, ducks, jaara jaara, jaara jarra people
Green stone granite axehead highly sharpened and beautifully fashioned at one end with rough hewn markings over the body of the object. Axe has a "waist" mid section where handle would have been attached. Also evidence of extensive wear from use. This axehead was quarried at one of only two green stone granite sights in Australia both in Victoria.
Scarring at one end of the axehead where it has been split from larger piece of granite.
defence, food, preparation, green stone granite, axehead, mt camel, jaara jaara people, jaara, waisted, quarries, tree cutting, weapon making
Victorian Collections acknowledges the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and the traditional custodians of the lands where we live, learn and work.