Upper and lower grinding stones made from basalt, used to grind vegetable, nut and seed foods. Cedar Creek, north Queensland, circa 1912. In this region, grindstones about 60cm long and 30 cm wide were kept in every hut. When people moved camp, they left behind the heavy lower stone, but took the top stone with them. After a season, they would return to the area and use the same lower stone again.
Photograph from 17 Years Wandering Among the Aboriginals.

Aboriginal tools

Aboriginal tools


Demonstrating the use of a A lower grindstone made from slate, with parallel grooves cut in order to keep nuts and other hard material in place, making their grinding easier. Malanda, north Queensland, circa 1912.
Photograph from 17 Years Wandering Among the Aboriginals.


  • Sacred stone objects (tjuringa). A variety of natural, waterworn, shaped and painted stones were utilised throughout Australia as sacred stones. Many of these were stored in sacred places, buried beneath the ground or cached in trees, rock crevices, or the backs of caves and rock shelters.

  • Magic stones. People carried small magic stones in order to cure sickness and ward off evil spirits. These included naturally-occurring clear quartz crystals and any unusually-coloured or unusually-shaped small stone.




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