This adze is the type used on Cape York to hollow out a log to make the hull for a canoe. On the east coast of the Cape, Aboriginal people made canoes with a single hull to which an outrigger or double outrigger was attached.

Physical Description

A hafted tool made from a segment of shell with a sharpened edge. The haft is made from a single piece of wood bent at the mid-point to form a handle. It is embedded in resin coating the distal end of the shell.

Local Name



This is a very rare example of a hafted adze or chisel with a shell blade. It was used by Johnny KullaKulla at Port Stewart in late 1929 to fashion a canoe hull from a large log.The anthropologist Donald Thomson took photographs of him doing this and then collected the tool that was most likely made by Johnny KullaKulla.

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