Summary

Boomerang which belonged to the notorious Aboriginal bushranger Pidgeon, whose Aboriginal name was 'Jandamarra'. As a young man Jandamarra was jailed for the theft of livestock and missed the education necessary to become a man in traditional Bunuba society. Instead, he attracted the attention of successive European mentors, becoming a skilled horseman, fist fighter and marksman of unequalled accuracy, and was eventually recruited as a police tracker.

Constable Bill Richardson engaged Jandamarra to join him as part of an official police party to Bunuba country in 1894 where they captured 17 prisoners, including Elemarra, a legendary leader of Bunuba resistance to the pastoralists. However Jandamarra shot Richardson and released his countrymen and they fled to the safety of the limestone parapets of the Napier Range. A week later, they ambushed advancing cattle drovers at Windjana Pool and two of the stockmen escaped to tell the tale. The Kimberley pastoralists and Perth's political establishment were in uproar, commissioning a succession of punitive raids on the Bunuba. Oral history from this region tells of the massacre of scores of people. It was not until Micki, an Aboriginal man from the Pilbara, was recruited that the revenge party got close to Jandamarra. The fatal confrontation occurred at Tunnel Creek where Micki fired his rifle and Jandamarra plummeted 30 metres to his death. While the exact provenance of the boomerang is unknown, it is likely to have been abandoned by Jandamarra after a battle at the Two Mile Creek homestead, where police found guns, ammunition and native weapons. The boomerang was donated to the museum by geologist E.J. Dunn but nothing is known of how he came to have such an iconic object in his possession.

Physical Description

A boomerang made from a single piece of wood painted with natural pigments. The upper convex surface is fluted and coated with red ochre and has three large circles painted with yellow ochre. It has a paper tag adhered to this surface: Western Australian Boomerang called Kielie of curious pattern. This boomerang belonged to the black bushranger Pidgeon who was shot by the police on [check] the Lillemillora Gorge, Leopold Range. Rare Pattern.

Significance

This boomerang is an an iconic object of the Aboriginal history of resistance; having belonged to the notorious Aboriginal bushranger Jandamarra (Pidgeon), the leader of the Bunuba resistance in the Napier Range in northwest Western Australia during the mid-1890s.

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