I found this  piece of rock maybe 15 years ago, and immediately thought it looked like an indigenous tool. But was it? The location was South Kolan, near Bundaberg, Australia. There it was, with part of it poking up from the dirt driveway, on the property where I lived at the time. The daily traffic of cars probably brought it to the surface.

The location also seemed to back up my feelings of it being of indigenous origin. Scraping tool, I thought, and it was found on the threshold between rich red soil, and grey, alluvial soil. Nearby, was a watercourse that would fill up during rain, and empty into the Burnett River maybe a kilometre downhill. So it was suggesting a past river or creek bank, where much Aboriginal activity was most likely.

The moment I found the stone, I placed it in my hand, and it fitted snugly, a beautiful fit, with the apparent scraping edge facing exactly how you would want it. My thumb nestled nicely in a slightly worn recess. If it were a genuine artefact, then its maker, or original owner, was obviously right handed.

But was I right? Was  it a genuine Aboriginal scraping tool?

I would have to wait a long time to find out. After 15 years of procrastination (my middle name), I finally contacted the Queensland Museum. Their verdict is yes, it is an indigenous  tool, as their email informs me:

“Yes this is a scraper. It is a common stone artefact as it had many uses but primarily used for preparing skins and sinews.

The local Aboriginal people in Bundaberg are the Gooreng Gooreng people and they have many documented sites along the river connecting inland ochre pits with the mouth of the river. South Kolan has been known as a significant site for many years and early colonial people in the area photographed many rock art sites in South Kolan – back when photography was a very recent invention. So the Aboriginal community, their sites and artwork at South Kolan made a big impression in the late 19th century.”

So I was stoked when I received this information only two days ago. It is a wonderful thought to hold the tool, and sense the person that once held it, and used it everyday. How long ago, I am not sure. A hundred years? I don’t know. A wonderful feeling, tinged with sadness, at what has gone, and what has been lost.

click on images to enlarge

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