Elaborate incised designs are a feature of the shields made by Aboriginal men across south-eastern Australia. This drunmung (parrying shield) has been beautifully engraved on the front and back, and is a fine example of the skill and artistry of the carvers.
Many Victorian and south-eastern First Peoples groups used the narrow wedge-shaped drunmung. It was an effective defensive weapon in close one-on-one combat, during which a skilled warrior could ward off the clubs and other hand-held weapons of his opponent.

Physical Description

Shield composed of hard wood. Wedge-shaped with tapering ends. Handle cut from solid. Incised design on face.

Local Name



Drunmung were usually made of a solid but light wood obtained from the inner timber of an ironbark or box gum tree, then shaped using stone tools or mussel shells.
The engraving tool differed depending on the resources available; they could comprise a specially shaped stone, volcanic glass or a small stick with a sharp stone or possum-tooth attached to the end. The engraved drunmung is coated with animal fat to preserve the wood, and the grooves are filled with white pipeclay.

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