School of Art
WeaponryThe impressive collection of weapons, mostly dating from the mid to late 19th century, were acquired to illustrate different types of warfare.
There are meticulously carved Fijian rootstock clubs, heavy throwing clubs, ironwood 'Gunstock' clubs and pineapple skull-crushers. Also represented are a broad sharp-edged dance paddle from Tonga, serrated clubs from Samoa, Australian aboriginal boomerangs, and a pair of New Guinea stone-head clubs from the Torre Straights Islands. From Tahiti there is a Maori staff club with pana shell inlaid eyes. There is a King Solomon Island axe with cut and polished pearl shell inlaid with designs of a frigate bird, and a finely chip-carved ceremonial Chief's Paddle from the Cook Islands, decorated with the bold geometric patterning distinctive of the Polynesian islands.
Weapons from the Collection on display at the 125th anniversary exhibition, 1997
Their precise source and usage is somewhat vague, many 'exotic curios' such as these would have been picked up by whalers and passing travellers and they came with little documentation.