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The History of Boomerangs

The History of Boomerangs

When boomerangs are mentioned, often people think of Australia. However, these amazing sticks actually predate Australia, having been found in Ancient Egypt and throughout Europe. “The famed King Tutankhamen of Egypt had an extensive collection of boomerangs over 2000 years ago.” Australian boomerangs are the most famous since they are the best preserved specimens, some of which are ten thousand years old. The oldest boomerang found was in Olazowa Cave in Poland. Made out of a Mammoth tusk, it is has been dated to be about 30,000 years old.

Historians are not sure when the first boomerangs were developed, since they require careful construction to get the delicate balancing right so the stick will return. They speculate that the flat throw stick used by early hunters was the ancestor of the boomerang and accidentally “discovered” by a hunter fine-tuning his throw stick, probably somewhere in the Orient. Not only used for hunting, the boomerang was a useful weapon for ancient cultures that had yet to invent bows and arrows. There is historical evidence of the Greeks using boomerangs as weapons, called “clavas” or “stick”, it was even used by the mighty Hercules in the ancient stories. The Romans used spears instead of boomerangs, but they have records of fighting against the Gauls and Teutons (considered the French, Spanish, and Germanic people.)

Historically and currently, boomerangs have been used for combat. Often a combat boomerang is not intended to return to its user, instead it is used as a club or basic throwing stick much like the ancient cultures first used it. Often boomerangs were considered a “weapon of the gods” and many cultures from the ancient Babylonian kings to Brazilian sorcerers have used them as “royal badges and signs of favor from the gods.”

According to Wikipedia, “Boomerangs can be variously used as hunting weapons, percussive musical instruments, battle clubs, fire-starters, decoys for hunting waterfowl, and as recreational play toys.” Almost any material can be used to make a boomerang. Wood, metal, carbon fiber, plastic, and ivory are all just a few of the textiles boomerangs have been made from. In 1997 the smallest boomerang was thrown by Sadir Kattan for the Australian National Boomerang Championships. It measured 1.8 inches long and 1.77 inches wide and flew a distance of sixty-five and a half feet before returning. The largest boomerang was made by Gerhard Walter of Austria in 2008 and was named the “Flying Bigfoot – Highlander.” This boomerang measured 8.49 feet and flew over twenty-five meters.