Aborigines are the native people of Australia. They are similar to Indians, but have a different religion and culture. They make things from wood that they can use as weapons, tools, horns and noise makers. One of those wood noise makers is a bull roarer. The noise scares animals and bad spirits away.
A bull roarer looks like a straight boomerang that is attached to a string. This bull roarer won’t sound exactly the same as a real one, but it will still make a noise.
This project can be used by a youth group to meet requirements about making something from wood, and learning to use basic hand tools, or studying primitive cultures.
You will need
- Wood lathe or paint stirring sticks
- Beads or washers
- Nylon cord or sturdy string
- Permanent markers
- Hand drill
- Coping saw or jig saw
- Sand paper, rasp or plane
- Cut a lathing strip or paint stirring stick into a shape that is similar to a large tongue depressor; about six inches long with rounded ends. Sand, plane or whittle the edges to make them beveled like an airplane wing or a boomerang. Drill a hole in one end that is large enough for the cord.
- Cut a two to three foot length of cord. Put one end through the hole and tie a double half hitch.
- Add beads or washers to give the bull roarer some weight. The wood used to make real ones is harder and heavier than pine, and the weight will have to be added to make it twirl correctly.
- Tie the cord or string in an overhand knot to keep the beads or washers near the hole.
- Tie an overhand knot with a bend to make a loop on the other end that is large enough for your finger, about two inches from the end.
- Decorate the tongue depressor with a design similar to Aborigine art. Draw an animal, such as a lizard or kangaroo, with permanent markers. Outline the picture with dots. Aborigines use dots to symbolize the spirit.
- Twirl the bull roarer around in a circle, putting one finger in the loop on the far end. It should make a whooshing noise.
Bull Roar Game
Make a target from a hula hoop, or a plastic table cloth with a target drawn on it. Draw a start line with chalk, or use a scrap of wood or baseball base for a place for the player to stand. Place the target about ten to twenty feet from the start line. Twirl the bullroarer in a clockwise circle. Let go of the string, and try to hit the target. If the player hits the target, they continue to play. After all of the players have tried to hit the target, the target is moved a few feet further away.