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Map700x250This map shows the major areas in the ‘Top End’ of Australia where the didgeridoo is traditionally found. The coloured zones represent areas that are culturally distinct as far as the production and use of the didgeridoo is concerned. Didgeridoos in each zone share basic similarities although micro-variation and larger-scale cultural distinctions are also apparent. Clicking on the coloured zones will bring up specimen instruments belonging to that area, or click here for instruments collected in other parts of Australia. Please note that zone delineations are approximations only.

A_fnqmapOld didgeridoos from Queensland are extremely rare, and only one 19th century example is known to be in existence. Field research by ethnologist Roth indicates that the instrument was traded to the Far North Queensland area from the Gulf country sometime in the early 1800s, and that the instrument was known locally as yiki-yiki. These didgeridoos were longer than those found in other parts of Australia, typically measuring from 7 to 9 foot long. Unfortunately, no field recordings of the yiki-yiki are extant, so it is unknown whether the local playing style of Far North Queensland was overtone-present or -absent.

A 1960s ethnomusicological survey of northern Queensland reported the absence of the didgeridoo, suggesting the instrument – having been introduced there some 150 years ago – did not take take hold in the area.

The didgeridoo’s revival several years later seems to have been encouraged by the state’s Department of Aboriginal Affairs, which employed field officers to teach Queensland Aborigines the skills in producing arts and crafts for the market. Strangely, reproduction of Arnhem Land art was encouraged by these field officers, and it was not unusual for direct copies to be made from images appearing in books. Works produced this way were marketed through the Queensland Aboriginal Creations scheme.

Today, didgeridoos made by Aboriginal craftsmen in Queensland tend to be generic-type instruments of about 4 to 5 foot long. These are best described as CI 3 instruments in iDIDJ Australia’s Cultural Indications Index.

A_fnq1

Reference: fnq1, Comments:Well used specimen with heavy patination to mouthpiece and upper third section of the body. Pigment decoration to bottom third of distal end resembles painted motifs on 19th century Queensland rainforest figwood shields. Numerous resin plugs to knot holes.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Far North Queensland
Key: E flat fundamental, Length: 136 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1st quarter of the 20th century

A_fnq2

Reference: fnq2, Comments: A superb specimen with rich glossy patina from extensive use and handling, pronounced adze marks throughout, and faded red ochre pigmentation.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Far North Queensland
Key: C# fundamental, Length: 145 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1st quarter of the 20th century

A_fnq3

Reference: fnq3, Comments:As the didgeridoo is unknown in Torres Strait Islander culture, this instrument is likely to have been traded to the area as a novelty item from the manland. Good use patination.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Torres Trait Islands
Key: F fundamental, Length: 114 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1970s

A_fnq4

Reference: fnq4 Comments: A well used didgeridoo marketed through the Queensland Aboriginal Creations scheme. This government scheme promoted the production of arts and crafts by Queensland Aborigines, though strangely, artists were encouraged to use imagery and designs from Arnhem Land.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Queensland
Key: F fundamental, Length: 102 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: synthetic paints
Collection date: 1970s

A_grtmapGroote Eylandt is culturally and musically diverse, a result of the strong social and other ties to nearby mainland and more distant groups. The people of Groote Eylandt refer to themselves as Wanindiljaugwa, their language is Anindiljaugwa, and there are something like 12 local descent groups who identify with or are affiliated with Groote Eylandt and the adjacent Bickerton Island.

The didgeridoo is locally known as yiraga, most often made of alabera (Stringybark, Eucalyptus tetradonta) though mabunda (coastal Hibiscus) and aiyangbarda (Rough-barked Gum, Eucalyptus ferrugines) are also sometimes used.

Groote Eylandt didgeridoos are high specificity instruments and the playing techniques that are endemic to the island among the most developed in Aboriginal Australia. The overtone-present playing style utilises the overtone in fast percussive effects, the tongued doublet and triplet accents that form the baseline to song structure are unique to the area, and the compositions display a remarkable complexity and vitality.

A_grt1

Reference: grt1 Comments:A good hardwood specimen with typical Groote Eylandt ochre decoration. Good resonance and acoustics, and well used patina to mouthpiece.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Groote Eylandt
Key: E flat, F#, Length: 131 cm
Material: alabera, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1970s

A_grt2

Reference: grt2, Comments:A coastal Hibiscus specimen hollowed out by ramming. Ochre decoration

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Groote Eylandt
Key: -, Length: 96 cm
Material: mabunda, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1970s

A_grt3

Reference: grt3 Comments: A coastal Hibiscus specimen hollowed out by ramming. Ochre decoration.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Groote Eylandt
Key: -, Length: 110 cm
Material: mabunda, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1970s

A_grt4

Reference: grt4 Comments:
A good hardwood termite-hollowed specimen with delicate ochre decoration depicting totemic creatures.

Maker: Nanjiwarra (attributed), Clan: Amagula, Area: Groote Eylandt
Key: E, F, Length: 133 cm
Material: alabera, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1964,

A_grt5

Reference: grt5 Comments: A highly unusual specimen owing to diminutive size. Evidence of extensive use from handling patination. Faded ochre decoration throughout. Possibly a child’s instrument.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Groote Eylandt
Key: high C, Length: 65 cm
Material: alabera, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1950s

kimmapKimberley region, situated in the north of Western Australia, is the home of the Bardi, Ungarinyin, Worora and Wunambal people, among others. There are social and ceremonial links that connect them to the Murinbata of NW Northern Territory and also to the Garadjari south of Broome.

The didgeridoo entered the Kimberley region from the Northern Territory sometime in the late 19th century. It is used in the Kimberley mainly in the non-religious dance form known as Wangga. The local playing style is not well developed compared to the more dazzling styles of Arnhem Land: the rhythms are simple and repetitive, no overtone is used, and the techniques are rudimentary.

Whilst instruments used in the Wangga are usually undecorated, those produced for the market from the 1960s onwards were often decorated with naturalistic paintings and incised decorations.

kim1

Reference: kim1 Comments: Nicely decorated specimen with sugarbag beeswax mouthpiece.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Kimberley, WA
Key: E fundamental, Length: 112 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1960s

kim2

Reference: kim2, Comments:A good specimen with interesting incised decoration consisting of chevrons and other geometric motifs.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Kimberley, WA
Key: E flat fundamental, Length: 134 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre, incised
Collection date: 1960s,

kim3

Reference: kim3, Comments: An excellent well used specimen, made for use rather than for sale.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Kimberley, WA
Key: E flat fundamental, Length: 119 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1965

mimapMornington Island is located off the coast of Queensland in the Gulf of Carpentaria, near the Queensland/Northern Territory border. The Lardil, Yangkal and Kaiadilt people live here.

The didgeridoo first entered Mornington Island in the 1930s as a result of visits to other Aboriginal settlements by the mission boat the Morning Star. This vessel was crewed by local tribesmen and paid occasional visits to Arnhem Land’s Yirrkala mission. Items of material culture, including the didgeridoo, were brought back to Mornington Island from these visits. The didgeridoo became incorporated into local ceremonial performances despite deliberate – and highly successful – attempts by mission staff to suppress cultural expression. During the 1950s-70s, cultural revival was encouraged by the then mission superintendent, Reverend Douglas Belcher, and a local handicraft industry was supported: artifacts that were made – including didgeridoos – were sold in craft shops on the mainland especially in Cairns.

Mornington Island didgeridoos are basic generic-type instruments compared to their high-specificity counterparts in north-east Arnhem Land and Groote Eylandt. The playing style on Mornington Island is also fairly basic despite the use of the overtone, a feature that is usually associated with complex and highly developed playing techniques and styles elsewhere. Kurrburu (Acacia sp.) and Ironwood (Erythropleum chlorostachys) are the most common tree used for making didgeridoos on Mornington Island. Instruments decorated with synthetic pigments such as acrylic paints are more prevalent than those decorated with earth pigments (ochres).

mi1

Reference: mi1 Comments: A handsome specimen with good playing characteristics and displaying indigenous use wear and patination to mouthpiece.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Mornington Island
Key: F fundamental, Length: 121 cm
Material: Ironwood, Decoration: synthetic paints
Collection date: 1960s,

mi2

 Reference: mi2 Comments: A basic instrument decorated with ochres.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Mornington Island
Key: F fundamental, Length: 109 cm
Material: Ironwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1960s

mi3

Reference: mi3 Comments: A wonderfully decorated specimen.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Mornington Island
Key: D fundamental, Length: 125 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: synthetic paints
Collection date: 1970s

mi4

 Reference: mi4, Comments: A good playing and aesthetically pleasing specimen decorated with ochres.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Mornington Island
Key: B fundamental, Length: 133 cm
Material: Ironwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1960s

ncalmapNorth Central Arnhem Land is a region with an interesting history of cultural admixture. On its western border is the Western Arnhem Land region, a vast area that is linguistically and culturally diverse. To the east is north-east Arnhem Land otherwise known as the Yolngu cultural bloc.

The contemporary settlements of Ramingining and Milingimbi are the two main Aboriginal communities within north central Arnhem Land, each with about a dozen satellite outstations or homelands.

On the mainland at Ramingining and its surrounds, the traditional owners are the Djinang- and Djinba-speaking groups, with Burarra, Rembarrnga and Gupapuyngu estates forming an enclave around them. On Milingimbi Island, the traditional owners speak Yan-Nhangu.

The didgeridoo in north central Arnhem Land is played with the overtone, but unlike the dense rapid fire effect that is utilised in north-east Arnhem Land, the overtone tends to be slower and deliberately sustained. The musical structure of the Djinang and Djinba clan songs consist of repeating baseline accented doublets interjected by metronomic overtone spurts. The Gupapuyngu display more finess in their use of the didgeridoo and are musically and culturally aligned with north-east Arnhem Land.

ncal1

Reference: ncal1, Comments: Fine specimen painted with ochres in Bobby’s characteristic style. Bobby has performed widely in Australia and internationally as a songman and dancer with David Gulpilil and other community members from Ramingining.

Maker: Bobby Bununggurr, Clan: Ganalbingu, Area: Ramingining
Key: D fundamental, F overtone, Length: 145 cm
Material: Stringybark, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1994

ncal2

Reference: ncal2, Comments: The Rembarrnga are musically aligned with both Western and north central Arnhem Land. This instrument, though playing in both overtone-present and overtone-absent styles, more closely resembles didgeridoos from North Central Arnhem Land.

Maker: Paddy Fordham, Clan: Rembarrnga, Area: Beswick
Key: C# fundamental, F# overtone, Length: 138 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1980s

ncal3

Reference: ncal3
Comments: A good specimen decorated with yam motifs in ochre. Typical of instruments used in north central Arnhem Land, despite its collection in Maningrida in Western Arnhem Land.

Maker: unknown, Clan: Burarra?, Area: Maningrida
Key: C fundamental, E overtone, Length: 132 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1961

ncal4

Reference: ncal4
Comments: A fine specimen with faded ochre decoration depicting parts of the Wagilak Sisters’ story. Glossy patina from use.

Maker: Dawidi (attrb.), Clan: Liyagalawumirr, Area: Milingimbi
Key: F-F# fundamental, A overtone, Length: 109 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1950s

ncal5

Reference: ncal5 Comments: A fine specimen with excellent acoustics and detailed ochre decoration., Ex. J. A. Davidson Collection

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Milingimbi
Key: D fundamental, E overtone, Length: 147 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1960s

ncal6

Reference: ncal6 Comments: The use of the didgeridoo by the Liyagalawumirr people is stylistically similar to the Djinang and Ganalbingu groups to which they are closely related both socially and ceremonially.

Maker: Neville Nanitjawuy, Clan: Liyagalawumirr, Area: Ramingining
Key: B to C fundamental, E flat overtone, Length: 160 cm
Material: Stringybark, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1980s

nealmapNorth-east Arnhem Land is the home of the Yolngu people. The Aboriginal communities of Yirrkala, Gapuwiyak and Galiwin’ku are the main settlements that service this region. Dozens of smaller satellite communities called outstations or homelands have been established away from the main settlements since the 1970s, in what was called the Homeland Movement.

In north-east Arnhem Land the didgeridoo, commonly known as the yidaki, finds it greatest artistic expression. In this region, the rhythms, techniques and compositions endemic to the people are of outstanding musical interest. Characteristic features in the playing styles of north-east Arnhem Land include sharp tongued accents, syncopated overtone rhythms, and variable time metering.

The presence of secret non-public versions of the didgeridoo in north-east Arnhem Land – in addition to the didgeridoo’s incorporation into the cosmological beliefs of the Yolngu people – suggests a likely ‘birthplace’ for the instrument. Indeed, there are Yolngu accounts of the origin of the didgeridoo set in north-east Arnhem Land.

Didgeridoos from north-east Arnhem Land are instruments of the highest cultural integrity. The use of the didgeridoo in this part of Australia continues as an unbroken tradition since time immemorial. In recent times, the Yothu Yindi band and Djalu Gurruwiwi – Mr Didgeridoo himself – has done much to popularise the yidaki around the world.

Yidaki are commonly made in north-east Arnhem Land from gadayka – Eucalyptus tetradonta or Stringybark, gungurru – Eucalyptus miniata or Woolybutt, and badawili – Eucalyptus feruginea or Rusty Bloodwood.

neal1

Reference: neal1 Comments: A good hardwood specimen with fine incised clan design.

Maker: unknown, Clan: Rirratjingu?, Area: Yirrkala
Key: F fundamental, G# overtone, Length: 120 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre, incised
Collection date: 1960s

neal2

Reference: neal2 Comments: An important didgeridoo belonging to the Yirritja moiety known as Dhadalal. The body adorned with hanging pendant cords consisting of lindirritj (Rainbow Lorikeet) feathers, bush twine, pointed bone tips, ‘sugarbag’ wax and ochre.

Maker: unknown, Clan: Dhalwangu, Area: Galiwin’ku
Key: F fundamental, G# overtone, Length: 124 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: late 1970s

neal3

Reference: neal3 Comments: A fine yirdaki used in dhapi’ (initiation) and bapurru (funeral) ceremonies in Arnhem Land. This instrument has been repainted a number of time.

Maker: Timothy Litalita, Clan: Datiwuy, Area: Galiwin’ku
Key: F fundamental, F# overtone, Length: 138 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1990s

neal4

Reference: neal4, Comments: A fine yirdaki with an unusual carved mid-section ‘waist’. Fast playing instrument with good compression.

Maker: Djakapurra Munyarryun, Clan: Wangurri, Area: Dhalinybuy
Key: F# fundamental, G overtone, Length: 135 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1990s

neal5

Reference: neal5 Comments:
A fine yirdaki made, painted and used by Djalu Gurruwiwi, famed didgeridoo craftsman.

Maker: Djalu Gurruwiwi, Clan: Galpu, Area: Gunyangara’
Key: E fundamental, F# overtone, Length: 145 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: synthetic paints
Collection date: 1999

neal6

Reference: neal6 Comments: A wonderfully decorated yidaki with ochre rendered designs typical of Mithinarri’s work on bark. The painting is a depiction of Dhonyin the file snake.

Maker: Mithinarri Gurruwiwi (1929-1976), Clan: Galpu, Area: Yirrkala
Key: D fundamental, G overtone, Length: 136 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: early 1970s

neal7

Reference: neal7, Comments: A fine yirdaki decorated with relief carving of gudurrku (brolga). Datjirri is a specialist practioneer of this technique of which he excels.

Maker: Datjirri Wunungmurra, Clan: Dhalwangu, Area: Gunyangara’
Key: F# fundamental, G# overtone, Length: 127 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: acrylic, relief carving
Collection date: late 1990s

nwntmapThe North West zone of the Northern Territory includes Darwin, Port Keats and the Daly River areas and their surrounds. Didgeridoo playing in this zone is stylistically related to the Western Arnhem Land region as both are overtone-absent. However, the musical structure and playing techniques in the NW Northern Territory are less developed compared to Western Arnhem Land.

The use of pandanus for didgeridoo construction is prevalent in the NW Northern Territory, perhaps more so than in other parts of the Northern Territory. Native bamboo too was used in making didgeridoos here, and indeed, there is a tributary named Bamboo Creek that drains into the Daly River.

The most beautiful didgeridoos found in this region originate from Port Keats where they are typically decorated with painterly designs featuring both figurative and geometric motifs.

nwnt1

Reference: nwnt1, Comments: Painted decoration typical of the Daly River area. Narrow bore, tight acoustics.

Maker: unknown; Clan: unknown, Area: Daly River
Key: D fundamental, Length: 121 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: synthetic paint
Collection date: 1970s

nwnt2

Reference: nwnt2 Comments: A lovely specimen with excellent acoustics and striking painterly decoration.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Port Keats
Key: G to G# fundamental, Length: 99 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochres
Collection date: 1960s

nwnt3

Reference: nwnt3, Comments:A rare didgeridoo featuring a mouthpiece insert. Both body and mouthpiece are made from Pandanus, with sugarbag beeswax. Good resonance and light acoustics.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Daly River
Key: E fundamental, Length: 109 cm
Material: Pandanus, Decoration: ochres
Collection date: 1950s

nwnt4

Reference: nwnt4, Comments:, Interesting artwork featuring a variety of animals including a bird, snake, fish, goanna, and dugong (a marine mammal), along with a boomerang and ceremonial spears.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Mandorah near Darwin
Key: E fundamental, Length: 103 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochres
Collection date: 1960s

nwnt5

Reference: nwnt5, Comments: An old specimen with artwork featuring figurative animal representations including a turtle and a bird with a fish in its bill.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Port Keats
Key: F# fundamental, Length: 108 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochres
Collection date: 1940s

nwnt6

Reference: nwnt6, Comments:An exceptionally fine instrument constructed from bamboo and decorated with blue house paint. A layer of red ochre is apparent beneath the blue house paint. Highly resonant and rich acoustics.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Daly River
Key: F fundamental, Length: 129 cm
Material: Bamboo, Decoration: blue house paint
Collection date: 1940s-50s

ropermapThe Roper River region in south-west Arnhem Land has Numbulwar and Ngukurr as its main Aboriginal settlements, with a number of smaller satellite communities or ‘outstations’ serviced by these two main settlements. The people of this region are known as the Nunggubuyu (derived from nunn, meaning person, and wubuy, the language spoken by the people).

The social organisation, structure and composition of the Nunggubuyu are extremely complex, partly a result of the cultural admixture in the area. Nonetheless, it is generally accepted that there are about 8 clan groups: Mangurra, Murrungun, Nundhirribala, Wurramara, Ngalmi, Nunggarrgarlu, Nunggumajbarr, and Numamurdirdi. These clans are arranged into two moieties Mandirrija (equivalent to the Yolngu Yirritja moiety) and Mandhayung (equivalent to the Yolngu Dhuwa moiety).
The Nunggubuyu have close ties to the Yolngu people of north-east Arnhem Land and the Wanindiljaugwa of Groote Eylandt. The use of the didgeridoo in the Roper River region is not well documented though there is evidence that in more traditional times some clans used the didgeridoo and some didn’t.

roper1

Reference: rpr1, Comments: An interesting instrument that has been painted twice. The newer painting is of fish and snakes typical of the art style of the Roper River region in the 1980s and 1990s.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Roper River
Key: D fundamental, Length: 122 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: acrylic
Collection date: late 1980s

roper2

Reference: rpr2, Comments: Djambu Barra Barra is a prolific and highly acclaimed artist who “…stands as a unique and powerful voice, at once novel and ancient” according to one leading art commentator. Djambu works in the medium of bark and canvas, and this didgeridoo would be only a small number that he has made and painted. This instrument is highly responsive and suitable for the Nunhdhirribala style.

Maker: Djambu Barra Barra, Clan: Wagilak, Area: Ngukurr
Key: G fundamental, G overtone, Length: 121 cm
Material: Bloodwood, Decoration: acrylic
Collection date: 1990s

roper3

Reference: rpr3, Comments: Two nearly identical instruments from the Walker River community, about 100 km north of Numbulwar. The top didgeridoo, collected in the 1970s, is the older of the two. Both instruments play in the same fundamental and overtone keys.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Walker River
Key: D fundamental, F# overtone, Length: 139 cm & 134 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1970s & 1990s

walmap4Western Arnhem Land is a large and culturally diverse area. Some of the tribes of this region are the Maung, Iwaidja, Gunwinggu, Gunbalang, Nakara, Gunavidji, Gundangbon, and Gundjehmi, among others.

The didgeridoo is commonly known as mago in Western Arnhem Land. Mago are typically shorter than – and acoustically different to – the yidaki of north-east Arnhem Land. In terms of sound characteristics, mago are somewhat richer and more full-bodied than yidaki. Also, the overtone note is not a feature of Western Arnhem Land playing and most mago do not play this note easily.

The following are other Indigenous names for the didgeridoo in Western Arnhem Land: wuna-bobanja (Nakara); jarluppu, littungh and morlu (Rembarrnga); giyanggiyang (large didgeridoo in Rembarrnga language); and morlu (Dalabon).

The first didgeridoos seen and collected by Westerners are from the Western Arnhem Land region. Most of these are Bambusa arnhemica specimens collected from the Coburg Peninsular area where the first European settlements were established in the 1800s.

The greatest proponent of the mago was a Western Arnhem Land didgeridoo player by the name of David Bl*n*s* (name obscured out of respect due to his recent death). Bl*n*s* travelled the world displaying his virtuoso style and won accolades for his skill and charm. He also performed with Rolf Harris in the UK and this had a large effect on popularising the didgeridoo among non-Indigenous audiences.

wal1

Reference: wal1 Comments: A very old specimen displaying considerable build-up and patination on mouthpiece from use. Decorated with wonderful geometric incised decoration, as well as ochre-painted abstract designs.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Coburg Peninsula
Key: E fundamental, Length: 127 cm
Material: Bambusa arnhemica, Decoration: ochre, incised
Collection date: circa. 1850-1890

wal2

Reference: wal2, Comments: Similar to the example above. The first European settlement attempt in the Northern Territory was on the Coburg Peninsula. The first didgeridoos ever encountered by Europeans was in this area.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Coburg Peninsula
Key: F fundamental, Length: 132 cm
Material: Bambusa arnhemica, Decoration: ochre, incised
Collection date: circa. 1850-1890

wal3

Reference: wal3 Comments: imilar in form to the two 19th century bamboo didgeridoos above, although this specimen is made from termite-hollowed hardwood.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Katherine
Key: E fundamental, Length: 128 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1972

wal4

Reference: wal4, Comments: A fine specimen collected at the same time as reference wal3 above.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Katherine
Key: F fundamental, Length: 110 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1972

wal5

Reference: wal5, Comments: An exceptional didgeridoo with rich resonant acoustics and wonderful clan designs associated with the escarpment country.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Maningrida
Key: G fundamental, Length: 111 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1960s

wal6

Reference: wal6, Comments: A didgeridoo made by the late David Bl*n*s*, didgeridoo maestro and pioneer in popularising the instrument internationally.

Maker: David Bl*n*s*, Clan: unknown, Area: Beswick
Key: E flat fundamental, Length: 118 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1990s

wal7

Reference: wal7, Comments: A good instrument displaying extensive use wear and handling patination. Delicate ochre painted designs of yams.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Maningrida
Key: F fundamental, Length: 105 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: ochre
Collection date: 1960s

othermapWith the arrival of Europeans in Australia, the didgeridoo’s geographic extension into new territories accompanied the enhanced mobility and, in a sense, the new-found connectedness of Australian Indigenous peoples. Whilst in some areas the didgeridoo was adapted into local cultures, more often than not it was merely a novelty that provided short-term entertainment value and that was not incorporated into the cosmological thoughts of the group.

Didgeridoos made in these new territories served two purposes: as crafts or souvenirs sold to the wider Australian public, or as musical instruments used by the Aboriginal people themselves. When made for internal use, the exacting standards and acoustic specificity of northern tribes were absent, thus resulting in generic-type didgeridoos that could be played but lacking the finesse of the fine instruments produced in, for example, Arnhem Land.

other1

Reference: oth1, Comments: An old specimen constructed from an exotic bamboo species, with traces of old encrusted plant resin or sugarbag beeswax to mouthpiece.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Central Australia
Key: B fundamental, Length: 137 cm
Material: Bamboo, Decoration: none
Collection date: 1940s-1950s

other2
Reference: oth2, Comments: Another specimen made from an exotic bamboo species, decorated with iconography from the Central Desert region of the Northern Territory.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Central Australia
Key: G fundamental, Length: 82 cm
Material: Bamboo, Decoration: synthetic pigments
Collection date: 1970s

other3
Reference: oth3 Comments:
An interesting instrument with burnt pokerwork designs of abstract and foliate motifs. This method of decoration is characteristic of transitional period artifacts produced on mission stations in south-east Australia. This didgeridoo is a fine specimen that plays well despite its southern origins.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Yalata Mission, S. A.
Key: D fundamental, Length: 131 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: pokerwork
Collection date: 1930s

other4
Reference: oth4, Comments: An early tourist didgeridoo that displays a certain rustic charm, unlike modern-day tourist didgeridoos.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Tennant Creek?
Key: -, Length: 90 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: synthetic paints
Collection date: 1970s

other5
Reference: oth5 Comments: An tourist didgeridoo with nicely painted decoration.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Tennant Creek
Key: high B fundamental, Length: 80 cm
Material: Bamboo, Decoration: synthetic paints
Collection date: 1940s-1950s

other6
Reference: oth6 Comments: An unusual instrument with burnt pokerwork design in pock-mark fashion as well as painted black bands. Resin plugs to knot holes suggests this instrument was made for use rather than for sale.

Maker: unknown, Clan: unknown, Area: Central Australia
Key: D fundamental, Length: 122 cm
Material: Hardwood, Decoration: none
Collection date: 1960s

DanDidgeridoo Database