Defence links to indigenous artefact

A suspected World War 2-era nulla nulla, gifted to former Brisbane Lions AFL player Rhan Hooper, was the catalyst for a presentation of his Indigenous culture at RAAF Base Amberley, in the lead up to NAIDOC week.

CAPTION: Rhan Hooper chats with Indigenous Liaison Officer Flight Lieutenant Sarah Woods during his visit to the Yarning circle at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. Story by Flight Lieutenant Greg Hinks. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Taylor Anderson.

The former AFL player’s first visit to an Air Force Base had him looking for information, after noticing some of the markings on the traditional Indigenous artefact.

“The nulla nulla was passed down through a neighbours’ family, the markings showing an emu, possum, kangaroo and a kookaburra,” Mr Hooper said.

A nulla nulla, also known as a waddy or boondi, is a hardwood club, or hunting stick, used as a weapon in Australian Indigenous culture, with this particular artefact having, what Rhan believes, historical significance.

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CAPTION: Rhan Hooper displays an Aboriginal hunting stick called a waddy, nulla nulla or boondi during his visit at the Yarning circle, RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Taylor Anderson.

“I reckon it was gifted from an Indigenous person to a fellow serviceman in World War 2 or another conflict, maybe something could have happened, it’d be good to find out what the story is,” Mr Hooper said.

“Knowledge and culture is important to Indigenous people, but bridging the gap and being able to also share our culture to people here at the RAAF Base, at the yarning circle, has been pretty cool, finding out this information would just add to the story.”

The Indigenous cultural display, held at the RAAF Base Amberley yarning circle, also showcased the yidaki (didgeridoo), with a performance of different types of the instrument, a discussion on bush medicine and bush tucker, and in insight into Rhan’s past, present and future aspirations.

Flight Lieutenant Sarah Woods, RAAF Base Amberley Indigenous Liaison Officer, is keen to help Mr Hooper find information on this particular nulla nulla.

“If we can help Rhan find information on this nulla nulla, it means we can continue the story and spread this knowledge to others,” Flight Lieutenant Woods said.

“It was great seeing the number of people who turned up to hear Rhan speak about his Kooma Kunja heritage and get a chance at a hands-on display. Rhan is really living his best life by remaining connected to Indigenous culture.”

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CAPTION: Rhan Hooper chats with Royal Australian Air Force and Australian Army personnel about his culture and background at the yarning circle, RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Taylor Anderson.


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