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  9. Februar 2005 | A Slice of History von Duncan Maclennan

ao - Duncan Maclennan war erneut in Sachen Bumerang- geschichte unterwegs und hat uns diese wunderbare Story über Joe Timberey, den ersten Bumerang- weltmeister, beschert. Der Artikel ist etwas länger, weshalb wir diesmal von einer Übersetzung absehen mußten. Ich denke die meisten werden die Geschichte trotzdem verstehen und mögen.

A Slice of History

I would like to thank Duncan Maclennan for much of this written information on Joe Timberey and also for some of the featured photos. Also thanks to Bob Burwell for the photos and old articles, Bobs father Cec and in fact the whole family were good friends with the Timbereys as was and will be revealed in the story Duncan.
I must admit I found the whole history fascinating and hope everyone enjoys the blast from the past it certainly has taken some time to put this together. This article mainly centers on Joe Timberey but stay tuned for the next article where we trace the history from Joe on to the beginning of the BAA, modern competitions, and beyond. Roger Perry


“The history of Joe Timberey the first Boomerang World Champion”

Timberey The first recorded Australian Aboriginal name. This was the name given to the famous French explorer La Perouse by the aboriginal people working on the French ships during their stay in Botany Bay New South Wales in 1778. The Timberey tribe members were recruited by the French to assist in finding water, fishing, hunting Kangaroos, emus and help prepare the ships for their further discovery voyages. La Parouse recorded the Timberey tribe as such in his diaries and requested the British commander captain Philip to present his papers to the French Government when he returned to England, Commander Philip duly delivered the diary to the French. In 1988 at the Bi Centenary of the birth of the French Republic the French Government sought out the remaining Timberey family to be part of the celebrations. John Timberey and his wife Marge represented the family, John is Joes brother as Joe had passed away some years earlier. Joe Timberey had visited France in the early 60s as part of a world tour demonstrating his amazing skill with the hard wood returning boomerangs. That tour had commenced in New Zealand where Joe demonstrated in front of a Maori chief, after the demo Joe presented the chief with a boomerang as sign of friendship between the 2 cultures. As a result of the gift and extra ordinary thing happened , during a talk later the Maori chief then presented Joe with a boomerang and asked that it be returned to Australia, the boomerang had been in his family for generations. That boomerang had been given to his family by the first white man to come to New Zealand some 100 years before. Joe returned the boomerang at he end of his tour around the world but had not as yet tested it as it was warped, so he later soaked the boomerang in water for a week and then re tuned and straightened. Joe was a little apprehensive about throwing fearing it may break or not return, however when he threw the boomerang he was amazed. Joe was a quite man who never swore or cursed or showed much emotion but on this occasion exclaimed My goodness me what a marvelous boomerang. Joe grew up in the suburb now known as La Parouse on the shores of Botany Bay overlooking Frenchmans Bay so named because the French boats rested there. Joe learned to make and throw boomerangs as a boy under the guidance of aboriginal Ned Hosking regarded at the time as the best thrower in the La Parouse area in the early 1920s.


Joe regarded this period as a most marvelous time as most of the aboriginal community made and sold boomerangs and assorted artifacts to the tourists that came after the 1st world war. Stalls were set up and boomerang throwers demonstrated their skills every Saturday and Sunday for the hundreds of visitors that came by tram to this beautiful area. World depression set in the early 1930s Australia had an unemployment rate of over 30% and more in the country areas. The aboriginals in La Parouse were badly affected then, there were no concessions you paid your way or you went hungry. Joe made a sackful of boomerangs and walked up the coast to Queensland some 1,000Kms selling and demonstrating along the way. During 1 of his journeys the rains came down heavily for weeks, the rivers rose and 1 morning whilst watching trees being swept downstream Joe noticed a wet and shivering Koala on one tree and decided to swim out and rescue the Koala. From then on the Koala went from town to town with Joe sleeping under the stars and in search of work. It was also during this time that he met and married his wife and then raised a family in La Parouse. The Koala joined the celebration and feasting and had by then acquired a taste for cake and beer as well as the eucalyptus leaves Joe maintained his shop during these times selling to the tourists through the depression and into the start of the 2nd world war and beyond. As his children grew they learned to throw boomerangs and the eldest boy started to make, the girls also became good throwers and fine artists decorating the boomerangs and are still doing so to this day.


In the early 50s Joe met Duncan Maclennan and they set up over a period of years a partnership and friendship with Joe making the beautiful boomerangs and Duncan at first selling them at his swimming baths business and later at his famous boomerang school in Kings Cross which is still running today. Also know to Joe were the Burwell family that went to school together and traces back to Bobs grandfather who arrived from England and moved to the La Parouse area. Around this time an American visited Duncans boomerang shop and asked if he was Joe Timberey upon hearing that he wasn’t asked if he could be introduced. He explained that he had been making boomerangs since the 1920s and had seen Joe throw boomerangs on TV. The name of the American was John Gerrish 1 of the founders of the boomerang in the USA along with his wife Marjorie Duncan became good friends with the American and traveled to the bush to get branches and roots for making boomerangs with Joe. Page 3 John Gerrish bought many boomerangs from Duncan and on 1 occasion said the best boomerang I have ever seen is this one purchased in 1930 which he showed to Duncan and asked did he know who made this boomerang. It turned out to be a Joe Timberey hard wood model, many of John Gerrish boomerangs including Joes models which are now in the Smithsonian institute. In 1954 the Queen of England made a grand tour of Australia and Joe was asked to throw boomerangs as part of the celebration. Most country centres had fairs and Wagga Wagga was where the event took place, Joe threw a large aboriginal boomerang about 50 metres out and on its return laid on the ground and caught it in his feet. See photo of large boomerang. He then launched 10 boomerangs throwing the last one as the first was landing at his feet as did the following 9 in succession. Joe was later in the day presented to the Queen with his family with his collection of boomerangs.



On another visit an American Negro and Duncan visited Joe at his new home on Frenchmans bay and asked could Joe please throw the boomerang. It was a windy day but Joe still managed to throw and catch the boomerang 6 times without moving from where the boomerang was thrown. Duncan then asked if he could try the boomerang that Joe was using but was told it was to heavy for him well can I at least catch it then but was told he wouldn’t be able to hold its return. Duncan assured Joe there was not a boomerang he couldn’t catch so Joe threw the boomerang and Duncan got both hands to the boomerang but it broke free and hit him in the neck and knocked to the ground. Duncan later apologised to Joe profusely but Joe just laughed and said I did not think you were quite ready for that boomerang the lesson learnt was that aboriginal boomerangs were not toys and should always command respect. One day in 1976 Joe came to Duncans boomerang shop to see him and talk to customers; he had a lovely nature and delighted in meeting overseas visitors, and observed they all loved Joe. This particular day a man came to Joes house to buy boomerangs and told Joe you come highly recommended to me that’s nice said Joe and then the man repeated it 3 more times. Joe then asked who recommended you and was told that the queen of England had told the man during a talk that if you go to La Parouse anyone can tell you where to find the champion boomerang thrower Joe Timberey. The word from Duncan Maclennan was that Joe was the nicest person he had ever met in his life and certainly without doubt the finest boomerang maker, thrower the world has ever seen bearing in mind that Joe was Trick Catching with hardwood large boomerangs. So from here we can clearly see the influence Joe had on boomerangs in Australia and overseas that he certainly must be the grandfather of the boomerang world as we now know it.






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