Best Australian Souvenir Ideas - #5 The Boomerang
Having exposure to so many beautifully designed and crafted local products, my friends often ask me what I think are the best Australian made gifts, so I asked our team at Red Earth Market what were their favourites and must-haves and here are our current top 5 – I say current because the best Australian made souvenirs and gifts are constantly improving and evolving.
We are interested to hear what everyone else thinks about our choices but to try and make sure that we compare Kakadu plums to kakdu plums (with apologies to Tasmanian apples which are delicious but not native to Australia) we have made our choices on the basis that above all as a team we value authenticity and simplicity as well as the use of locally sourced materials and ingredients. Authenticity in our mind goes beyond the art used to create the products and extends to fair trade and a preference for sustainably manufactured small-batch creations.
We will start with No. 5:
Australian Made Boomerangs
Before I hear cries of cliché – talking about Australian made souvenirs without looking at a boomerang is like discussing local cuisine without mentioning meat pies or seafood. The boomerang’s popularity as a souvenir helped to transform it into a national symbol and although the oldest boomerang in existence was discovered in Europe (I will tell you in my next post when and where for those interested) it has become distinctly associated with Australia’s First Nations and remains among the most popular gift items purchased by locals and visitors alike.
So while including a boomerang in our list was not necessarily the most original choice, the team set out to find a product which featured unique and original art from well-known artists who directly benefit from the sale of the product– and if that wasn’t enough it had to be made in Australia and be available at an affordable price point.
Western Desert Art
The product we recommend is the Australian made Gari Dari Original Western Desert Collection returning boomerang with a bonus display stand which is available in six distinct designs. When selecting this product the team loved the fact that it was not decorated with the ubiquitous “Aboriginal Style” kangaroo so often seen on cheap imported souvenirs but featured authentic First Nation’s art from artists that have had a deep and lifelong physical and spiritual connection with their ancestral lands.
As the name suggests, the art featured on these beautiful products hails from our Western Desert, which covers a broad area that includes most of the interior of Western Australia, northern South Australia, and the southwest corner of the Northern Territory. The Western Desert art movement is widely recognised with many renowned collections in Australia and abroad featuring the works of Western Desert artists who are among our nation’s most prolific and awarded art producers. It goes without saying that we would not have recommended this product unless each artist whose work is featured in the beautifully curated collection benefited directly from its sale.
Claims about a boomerang’s ability to return can be as unreliable as those relating to the provenance of the art with which it is adorned. Nothing annoys us more then boomerangs which claim to be capable of flight, but whose weight shape and aerodynamic characteristics make it obvious that the truth is being stretched.
The Gari Dari Original Western Desert Collection returning boomerang is designed by Boomerang throwing world champion Robert Kroll, made from Australian plywood is lightweight and has a beveled edge designed to enhance flight. Although the display stand which is a lovely bonus which comes complimentary with the product would indicate it is not primarily designed for flight – the ones tested by us performed as advertised although it did require a bit of help from youtube and a bit of practice. Being completely honest we did lose a few and caused some damage to the beautiful coat of varnish designed to protect the art on others. The moral of the story is that like most shiny expensive 4WD’s they are capable of going off-road but most owners will not want to scratch the paint.
Other great features include six unique designs to choose from, the product is lightweight and flat packed making it extremely easy to send as a gift, and includes a display stand which is extremely handy.