Au 00872

Please find more information about the object below the image.

Producer unknown to us


Australia, Queensland, Cairns, near Barron River

Around 1900

Wood, carved

Hermann Klaatsch (anthropologist, paleontologist)

Purchased by the museum from Klaatsch in 1908

Au 00872

Boomerangs are throwing sticks that have evolved widely in form as hunting and fighting weapons in various Australian communities. Hermann Klaatsch, a professor of anatomy, began collecting cultural objects during his expedition to Australia in 1904/05. He collected them after violent conflicts, looted them, or bought them from white farmers to resell them. This is how he financed his prolonged expedition, as museums offered substantial sums for the objects. 

Like many items, this boomerang is a vital testimony to their culture for the descendants of survivors of violent conflicts. Our museum is resolving the question of how these objects can be returned. As for the complete Australian collection, we have deposited the data in Australia in AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies). Doing so provides the opportunity for targeted provenance research and restitution claims by the respective communities.

Birgit Scheps-Bretschneider