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Waddies made by the Aranda people

A waddy, nulla-nulla or boondi is an Aboriginal Australian hardwood club or hunting stick for use as a weapon or as a throwing stick for hunting animals. The first of these names comes from the Darug people of Port Jackson, Sydney.[1] Boondi is the Wiradjuri word for this implement.[2]

Description and use[edit]

A waddy is a heavy, pointed club constructed of carved hardwood timber.[3]

Waddies were used in hand-to-hand combat, and were capable of splitting a shield, and killing or stunning prey. In addition to this they could be employed as a projectile as well as used to make fire and make ochre. They found further use in punishing those who broke Aboriginal law, which often involved settling a conflict between individuals, or between an individual and a group, in a trial by ordeal in which fighters gave and suffered heavy blows resulting in skull and bone fractures and much blood.[3]


They were made by both men and women and could be painted or left unpainted. Their construction varied from tribe to tribe, but they were generally about one metre in length and sometimes had a stone head attached with beeswax and string. They were made from where a branch met the tree, or from a young tree pulled up with its roots from the ground.[citation needed]

Alternative spellings[edit]

Waddy has also been spelled as wadi, wady, and waddie. The spelling stabilised around the mid-nineteenth century, partly to help distinguish it from the Arabic word wadi, a dry water course.[1] Nulla-nulla has been recorded with the following variations: nullah-nullah, nilla-nilla and nolla-nolla.[4]


  1. ^ a b Peters, Pam, The Cambridge Australian English Style Guide, Cambridge University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-521-43401-7
  2. ^ Paul Greenwood. "Land of the Wiradjuri: Traditional Wiradjuri Culture" (PDF). Lockhart Shire Council. Lockhart Shire Council. p. 23. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b Pardoe, Colin (2014). Violence and Warfare Among Hunter Gathers, M.A. Allen & T.L Jones Ed. Routledge. pp. 117–118.
  4. ^ Ransome, W. S. (1988). The Australian National Dictionary: A Dictionary of Australianisms on Historical Principles. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0 19 554736 5.

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