Image Gallery: Morrison Collection: Clubs

Most of the clubs in the Morrison collection come from South-Eastern Australia or coastal New South Wales. Of these, many are from the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. The collection also includes a number of clubs from Queensland.

The design of clubs differs depending on their purpose. Larger clubs with defined heads were rarely thrown. Their size made them awkward for use as a hunting tool; instead they were used in close combat. Similarly, long straight clubs were used in close combat situations as fighting sticks. Smaller clubs were usually thrown. These throwing clubs were used as hunting weapons to bring down birds and small mammals.

In addition to being used as weapons, some types of clubs were also used as percussive instruments and in ceremony. Large clubs were also regarded as objects of prestige and in some areas were highly valued as exchange items.

Most of the clubs in this collection are carved from a single length of hardwood. Fire was then used to dry and harden the wood. Ochre or animal oil was also often applied in an effort to protect and lengthen the life of the club.

The head shape of clubs varies considerably across Australia. Within this collection there are a number clubs that feature incised designs and decoratively carved heads. However elaborate carving is generally not a feature of clubs from the Hunter Valley and is more commonly found in clubs from Queensland or Northern NSW. Clubs studded with nails became a common feature of those produced in 19th century Eastern Australia, including those produced in the Hunter Valley.