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Wiradjuri Nation: Aboriginal elder, Rylstone man, Wally Washbrook. cont. P.17

wiradjuri grass treeLeft: the glue that binds a stone axe was once derived from the native grass tree.


One of the stone axe artefacts Mr Washbrook shows his school students when teaching about Aboriginal culture.   .
wiradjuri stone axe

Mr Washbrook said a war axe would have a groove in the axe to attach a handle, often made from wattle roots and glued and tied onto the axe with heated gum from grass trees, and sinews from a kangaroo’s tail.
 
He said women used to do the general work, using grinding stones to turn seeds into flour.
 
Many Aboriginal utensils were decorated with totem markings and some tribes had totem poles, with one such pole found in the Murray Mallee area, part of Mr Washbrook’s educational collection.
 
Mr Washbrook was once a National Parks and Wildlife officer and loves to take people through the local bushlands surrounding Rylstone to see the Baby’s Feet Cave and the bushranger Thunderbolt’s cave.
 
He said the baby’s feet on the cave is quite clear to see on an overhanging cave painted with hands (See page 7).
 
The hands were painted on the caves by Aborigines during their lifetime, and painted out (or over) when they died.

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