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Wadawurrung Tools & Technology

First Nations people are responsible for many amazing inventions and innovations in all areas of science, technology, and engineering. Often the knowledge and achievements of the First Nations civilisation are not recognised but there is so much to be re discovered and explored. Before colonisation, First Nations people invented many tools, pieces of equipment and technology to use in everyday life.

Some of the most common tools used are:

Axe: Stone axes were made from a piece of stone that was shaped accordingly and tied to a wooden handle using sinew and gum.

Baskets: were weaved from native grasses and used to carry food and other items as well as in cooking. They were essential for carrying items between camps and were usually balanced on the heads of our women.

Canoes: were regularly used by our people to travel along the waterways. They were fairly easy to make and could be done so in a short time. We would make canoes from the old River Red Gums that were along the river and a stone axe was used to cut out the shape in the bark. We would strip the bark off the gum fairly quickly – to strip a length of bark six, seven feet long, would only take five or ten minutes. We then dry and shape the bark over a fire.

Canoe Building with Elder Bryon Powell: 

Fishing traps were used in rivers, lakes, and tidal marine locations. There were different types of traps, some were circular and extended from the shoreline while others ran straight across rivers and streams. They can be made using stones, branches, sticks, reeds, and clay. There is evidence of remnant fish traps at the mouth of the Barwon River at Barwon Heads.

Fishing spears were one of the many tools we used when we hunted for fish and other sea creatures. They could be made of stone, wood and reeds by the men who would stand waist deep in water with a spear while the other man stood at a higher point looking for fish.