Alternative Name(s): Wind Toy

Made by John 'Sandy' Atkinson in 1988 and donated by him to the Australian Children's Folklore Collection. Sandy Atkinson grew up on the Cumeragunga Mission on the Murray River.

The Australian Children's Folklore Collection is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's folklore across Australia and in other countries reaching back to the 1870s. The Collection has a strong component of research material relating to Victoria.

This Aboriginal bullroarer is a variation on the universal genre of children's toys that use wind to create noise, along with whirling, humming and percussion toys. These types of toys are often home made innovations motivated by children's interest in unusual and penetrating sounds. In some regions of Australia, bullroarers were used by both boys and girls. In other regions they were traditionally used only by boys and young men. In south-eastern Queensland bullroarers were used to call children home or to call people together to announce news.

Physical Description

Wooden aboriginal toy known as a bullroarer. A thin piece of dark coloured wood, with smooth, rounded edges and curved ends. A hole is drilled through one end and a piece of white cord is threaded through the hole and tied. This is used to swing the wood around above the head and create a roaring sound. The wood has been engraved on both sides and the etched lines filled with a silvery-white. Acknowledgement: Australian Children's Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria.

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