Spear Trees

Yondee Shane Hansen

Artwork Year



77 x 186 cm


acrylic on canvas


Yondee explains this painting: “The stems of the tree are used for spears and they are chosen for their straightness, height and strength. They are from the eucalyptus mallee gums that are found all over the south west of Western Australia and across into South Australia. It’s the stem of the mallee that grows from the bowl of the tree that is used, and these are shaved down to get to the core, the strongest part of the tree.

The wood is worked over on the fire, not only to straighten it but also to harden it. Spear makers vary in the way they make their weapons, which differ in style and weight and strength. When the wood is first carved it has a lot of flex in it, so the maker can bend and shape it. Then to hold that final shape they pass it over the fire. Then they test it, throw it, shave a bit more off if they need to. The spear may start off too heavy and then they shave layers off to get to the spirit of the tree, the spirit of the spear. Then it is rubbed with eucalyptus gum and coated with emu oil. Spear makers only cut the trees that can be used, it is part of taking care of Country.

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