There probably isn’t a more iconic Australian souvenir than the boomerang. You see them in all the tourist shops and museum gift shops. Most of these, however, are highly overpriced and they may not fly well. I was determined to get some real boomerangs for my family and friends back home.
The boomerang is tens of thousands of years old and part of Australian Aboriginal culture. The popular curved varieties are returning boomerangs used for sport. Non-returning boomerangs, or throwing sticks, were used for hunting and as weapons. Throwing sticks are part of the stone age arsenal of weapons and have been found in Europe, Egypt, and the Americas. The word “boomerang” is thought to be an adaptation of an Aboriginal word from a now extinct language.
Theo, who has competed in a boomerang championship himself, has a nice collection of boomerangs including the three shown here and he insisted I buy mine from the same man who designed these twenty-something years ago. Last night we met Bruce Carter, a champion thrower who has held Australian and World records and who now coaches. On our way to meet him at the Coburg Table Tennis Club, Theo commented Bruce Carter sounds like a superhero’s alter-ego’s name.
Bruce was delightful and he and Theo were practically giddy as they caught up and looked over Theo’s old boomerangs. Bruce’s son Craig, also a record-breaking champion, and I believe he still holds a World record for speed, was on hand to give us a demonstration with a foam boomerang that is great for beginners, but is also used by pros. Slowly, the rapid sounds of plastic ping pong balls bouncing on tables faded away as people stopped to stare at Craig expertly throwing a boomerang around the room with incredible precision and speed.
Bruce has a wonderful selection of boomerangs for people of all levels and ages. I purchased two TriMagic Sports Boomerangs. This polymer boomerang made for right-handed people is perfect for beginners, particularly kids because, well, it won’t break easily and they’re less likely to hurt themselves with it.
I also purchased two traditional-looking boomerangs made of wood for when they’re ready to move on from the TriMagic. And I couldn’t resist two wooden boomerangs painted by an Aboriginal artist featuring a snake and turtles. These will fly, but I have no intention of throwing them.
Finally, Bruce gifted us with two boomerangs, the larger wooden one for Theo and the little one for me shown at the top left, his generosity enforcing Theo’s theory that he’s really a superhero. In full disclosure, Bruce didn’t know I’d be blogging about him. Neither did I for that matter, but he may know now.
Bruce runs the Boomerang Academy of Victoria and you can find a catalog of boomerangs on the website, but I recommend you contact him. The website doesn’t show his complete stock. Plus, he’s a nice guy (and a superhero apparently). You can also find him nightly at the Coburg Table Tennis Club.