Summary

Most commonly made from Ballee (Cherry Tree) or Moeyang (Blackwood), the yerrick (spear-thrower) enabled a spear to be thrown a great distance and with greater precision. With the right hand drawn backwards over the shoulder, a man could throw a spear with great force and kill a kangaroo at a distance of 70 metres.
Men were very careful with their spears and yerrick, which were also used during battle. When a yerrick was broken, the body was kept and a new hook was fitted to it, using kangaroo-tail sinew covered in resin or gum. The new hook could be made from wood or bone.

Physical Description

Wooden spindle-shaped yerrick (spear thrower). Like many of the wooden implements made by South-eastern Aboriginal men, this yerrick has an elaborate design etched into the front, back and handle. The nib is carved from shaft, with a knob on the end. Length 00700mm, width 00065mm, height 00030mm.

Local Name

Thur-ruk

Significance

This yerrick was acquired sometime around 1888 from the Avoca River area of central Victoria which is the traditional lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung peoples. Part of the Kulin nation, the Dja Dja Wurrung language group comprised 16 clans, occupying the watersheds of the Loddon and Avoca Rivers in central Victoria. The Dja Dja Wurrung travelled within the limits of their territory gathering food, fishing and hunting.

Harley Dunnoly-Lee is a young Dja Dja Wurrung man who is working on reviving and preserving Dja Dja Wurrung language and cultural practices. Harley speaks of the importance of wood and the continued manufacture of wooden implements in terms of cultural continuation;

'Using the trees on country in connecting to Country. The Ancestor's country. The trees draw the life force from the Earth. It is Country's way of giving life. When you make your own from the trees it is a way of seeing and learning from the past that was almost lost.' Harley Dunnoly-Lee, 2016.

References
Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, 2016. Viewed September 1, 2017
http://www.djadjawurrung.com.au/cultural-practices/

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