Maker Unknown
A Nail-Headed Club known as a Nulla Nulla, late 19th century

later 19th Century, Eastern Australia
a hand carved weapon, wrought from dense hardwood, with dark chocolate brown patina of some age, the club is imbedded on the thickened bulbus end, with early iron horseshoe nails. The Nulla Nulla handle is serrated, for ease and security of grip.
68.5 cm high
with stand

**Please note this Nulla Nulla is sold in a group of three with a finely engraved Hunting & Ceremonial Boomerang and a Hunting Boomerang. Purchase the trio HERE.

The Wonnarua people of Murrurundi, Upper Hunter New South Wales and its surrounds

Acquired in the Upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales, at Murrurundi, between the years 1929 and 1933 by Mr. Henry Cooke “Bennie” Dent. Mr Dent was Stud Master at Harben Vale, a significant grazing property owned by Mr. Frederick White, and hence by direct decent from Mr. Dent to Ms. Cherry Ripe food writer, journalist, broadcaster, and author of Sydney.

Associated Works
Nulla Nulla; Early 20th century, Hurstville Museum & Gallery collections. Object number, 1980.873

The necessary tools and equipment used for hunting, fishing, and warfare, were some of the few items that Aboriginal communities carried with them from place to place. To be an object carried was to be important, to the needs of the individual and community.

Most objects were used for a multiplicity of purposes. Because many were made from raw natural materials, such as wood, generally only partial remains are found today. Far more significant however, than the rarity of finding such a wooden artefact intact, this Nulla Nulla has two major attributes rarely found in combination: these being the impact on the weapon made by early European contact and the know, highly specific provenance as to the objects place of discovery and time.

As early 19th century European settlement wound its way up the Upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales and impacted on the Wonnarua people of Murrurundi and its surrounds, historically, the first impact between peoples can often be found in the trading or acquisition of iron. Axes of all types, horseshoe nails, tough useable ironwork capable of being immediately used by First Nations people. This Nulla Nulla sees the incorporation of early horseshoe nails into the head of the club, and this would indicate that at the time of reconstruction this club this object was intended to be used for its traditional purpose. The horseshoe nails not only add to the lethality of the weapon, they serve to shine a spotlight onto that time when First Nations people were in early contact with Europeans but had not been physically of culturally decimated. In this moment, or window period in early contact, the First Nations people used the resources of Europeans within the framework and traditions of their own culture.

An extraordinary attachment to this weapon, and one that is very rare, are the known approximate years, and specific place from which the Nulla Nulla came and entered a private collection – a collection and subsequent transfer to the present owner that has remained unbroken for the better part of a century. To be able to accurately place an Aboriginal object to Country & therefore logically to community is rare and indeed a beautiful knowing.

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