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88/334-6 Boomerang, one of 6, wood, made by Joe Timbery, La Perouse Aboriginal Community, New South Wales, Australia, 1988. Click to enlarge.

Boomerang from La Perouse made by Joe Timbery

Made by Timbery, Joe in Australia, Oceania, 1988.

This boomerang was made and decorated by Joe Timbery (1912-1978) from the La Perouse region of Sydney. Joe Timbery was famous for making boomerangs and other Indigenous artefacts, which were either painted or engraved with motifs such as Australian flora and fauna, along with iconic images such as the Harbour Bridge. Such works reflect links to land and traditional cultural practices, along with changing circumstances within Aboriginal communities brought about by European invasion. From the m...


Object No.


Object Statement

Boomerang, one of 6, wood, made by Joe Timbery, La Perouse Aboriginal Community, New South Wales, Australia, 1988

Physical Description

Boomerang, one of 6, wood, made by Joe Timbery, La Perouse Aboriginal Community, New South Wales, Australia, 1988

A blackwattle wood boomerang, with a central curve plain with visible woodgrain lines, hand shaped with a flat smooth surface.


'Aboriginal Joe Timbery of La Perouse 26.3.88' written in pokerwork to the back of boomerang



215 mm


550 mm




In the 1880s La Perouse became a regular camp site for displaced South Coast Aborigines. Some of these people had been expelled from the city of Sydney to the north; others had travelled north from traditional lands alienated by farming and grazing. Initially their occupation of this northern headland of Botany Bay was deemed illegal, however their camp was officially recognised as an Aboriginal Reserve in 1895. The establishment of a nearby Methodist Mission - soon to become the headquarters for the United Aborigines Mission - may well have influenced this decision.

Although La Perouse at this time was still beyond the southern perimeter of suburban development, it was already a popular seaside resort for the white inhabitants of Sydney. The Joseph Banks Hotel, with its renowned pleasure gardens and menagerie, was built there in the 1830s. By the 1880s the establishment was reaching its peak of popularity.

With very few other means of income and provision, the Aboriginal community of La Perouse were quick to engage with this new developing tourism market. They sold shell artefacts, shields, boomerangs and other items, and demonstrated boomerang throwing to the day trippers. What developed was a 'transitional culture' of production with traditional skills being employed to create 'non-traditional' artefacts for the new market. The production of souvenirs, such as decorated boomerangs, nulla nullas and shields, intricately designed shellwork patterns on cardboard baby slippers, jewellery boxes and other items grew in the 20th century with the establishment of a tram line to La Perouse in 1902, making the La Perouse Indigenous community one of the first to be involved with the tourism industry at the time.

Cite this Object


Boomerang from La Perouse made by Joe Timbery 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 25 January 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Boomerang from La Perouse made by Joe Timbery |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=25 January 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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