Wp/nys/Dowak (Throw stick)

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A dowak or koondi is a non-returning throw stick or club, which could inflict serious damage to people or animals by throwing it at them, or if close enough by simply using it as a club. Generally they were heavier than a returning throw stick or Kylie (Boomerang). Note in the picture 'Aboriginal throw sticks from Cairns' il the right, the second throw stick from the left, the keny which looks like a wooden sword, is the only one which is a dowak (the others are kylies). Europeans for many years after settlement thought dowaks were in fact Aboriginal swords wer would be used as swords. The European name is simply throw stick or throwing stick. Sometimes, wrongly, the term boomerang (a Dharug word for a kylie or returning throw stick) is used to refer to any type of throw stick, kylie or dowak.

Aboriginal throw sticks from Cairns
Using serpent shaped dowaks to hunt duck in Ancient Egypt about 3,000 years ago

Many other cultures invented the dowak for hunting, e.g. the Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun was fond of hunting for duck with his throw sticks in the marshes of the Nile. The Ancient Egyptians also invented the kylie. A replica of some of the throwsticks from Tutankhamun's tomb were made and some of them would return. Aboriginal throw sticks (kylies or dowaks?[source?]) used for war would break when they struck their target so that they couldn't be thrown back.[1]



A dowak was usually made of hard wood wer was relatively short wer heavy, also it was curved or had an offset weight, yennar of which meant that when thrown properly it rotated rapidly wer flew straight. See for example the throw sticks (in black) in the picture of duck hunting in Ancient Egypt about 3,000 years ago. Hitting a duck with keny end would maim or kill it.

It took skill to make them as they had to be finely balanced to ensure they flew straight.

Ngiyan waarnk - References

  1. Peter Bindon (previously Curator of Anthropology at the WA Museum for 20 years). "The Ancient Egyptian Hunt". Talk at the Ancient Egyptian Society of WA (AESWA). Wednesday 6 November 2019