Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Wyrie Swamp

The swamp is a peat bog south of Millicent, South Australia. A number of wooden Aboriginal tools have been found here. The occupation site that was covered by the expanding swamp has produced a range of wooden tools that are missing from most other sites, simply because wood required the correct conditions to survive for thousands of years. Among the tools were 3 complete boomerangs made from the drooping she oak (Casuarina stricta) and a 4th incomplete boomerang made from the root of  the drooping she oak. Later finds have increased the  number of wooden tools to 25, of which 9 were boomerangs. There were also a digging stick, a stake about 40 cm long, that was probably also a digging stick, a short simple spear and 2 barbed spears. These are the oldest known barbed spears in the world.

Some of the complete boomerangs were of the returning type, as indicated by their design, the 2 ends being in different aerodynamic planes and they join at a sharp elbow.

There were also core tools and scrapers at the site that had plant residue on the working surfaces.


As these artefacts are more than 10,000 years old the boomerangs and barbed spears are the oldest of their kind known in the world.

Sources & Further reading

  1. Flood, Josephine, 2004, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, JB Publications.
    1. Cane, Scott, 2013, First Footprints: The epic story of the first Australians, Allen & Unwin

    Scott Cane has included in his book, written as a companion to the ABC TV series of the same name, a number of stories from his days living among Aboriginal people in the desert and moving around with them.


Wyrie Swamp

Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated  20/12/2013
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