Toy spear throwers are deliberate in their design as they are meant to form part of the education of children. They give them the opportunity to practice spear throwing with games such as malu, a game where spears are thrown at moving pieces of bark. They are an important development process where the boys can improvise and make their own, or their father will make their sons miniature spears and a spear thrower, pre-initiation. They will continue to use this set until 12 to 16 years, when initiation has begun.
In the Rawlinson Range, Western Australia, decoration of spear throwers happens only after initiation, becoming more elaborate as knowledge increases.
Missions did encourage the manufacture of wood carvings, particularly of weaponry, for trade purposes. At Groote Eyelandt, the Northern Territory, Norman Tindale notice variations of form with a bigger body for decorative purposes and less handle space.
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