Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School

Year 8 Aboriginal Stick Throwing Games

Year 8 introduced to throwing stick

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Jonas introduced Year 8 students to the throwing stick or throwing club in class this week - "In class we talked about the significance of stick throwing and the different focus Aboriginal societies would have had (non-competitive approach, boys and men only played some of the games, some were initiation games and some were quite rough/dangerous (played with spears!!) The students thoroughly enjoyed throwing sticks and it was a great awakening to realise NOT only round objects can be thrown, quite a western idea!"

The game they played was called Kalq, a traditional indigenous game, in which the men used a throwing stick (‘woomera’) to deflect a big killing spear (‘kalq’) towards the next player. Boys used spears with blunted ends when they played this game. Of course in a school context no spears are used for safety reasons. The game is traditional to the Cape York Peninsula in North Queensland.

The throwing stick or throwing club is one of the first weapons used by early humans and cultures all around the world. In essence, it is a stave or wooden club thrown as a projectile to hunt small game such as rabbits or waterfowl. The Aborigines of Australia used the boomerang. Although returning boomerangs are found in many Aboriginal cultures and will return to the user if thrown properly, the choice weapon of the Aborigines and most cultures was the heavy throwing stick, known internationally as the Kylie. Its range was in excess of 100 meters and it could also be wielded as a club or knife for attacking close kangaroo, wallaby, and emu. Traditional Aboriginal games are inclusive games and not competitive. For example, if a player gets ‘out’ in some games they can immediately re-join the game once leaving the field.

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