Rare Glass Spearhead Discovered on Rottnest Island

The 100-year-old weapon was used to hunt quokkas

An exquisite emerald-green glass spearhead has been found on Rottnest Island by students on a university excursion. The spearhead is believed to be at least 100 years old and is a particularly rare find for the area.

Professor and traditional owner of the Perth district and surrounding areas, Len Collard from the University of Western Australia led a university excursion to the island known as Wedjemup last week. Students were taken to the island to learn about its history as an Indigenous prison for almost a century.

Rottnest IslandImage: Rottnest Island, Len Collard

The university group was exploring the hills on the island when one of the students spotted a sparkling object on the ground. The object in question, according to Professor Len Collard, is a rare glass spearhead used to hunt down quokkas and is believed to be around 100 years old. Collard was thrilled by the discovery:

It's not every day that you uncover an artefact of this significance, we have unearthed clear glass and ceramic spearheads before, but never a spectacular emerald green glass spearhead like this one.

The beautiful clear glass spearheads were used by the indigenous prisoners for trade and hunting quokkas.

QuokkaImage: Quokka, Shutterstock

"We believe the prisoners would find a place on top of a hill overlooking the mainland where they would make spear tips from scrap pieces of glass," explained Collard.

In accordance with Aboriginal tradition, the spearhead was re-buried.

Rottnest held 4,000 men and young boys as prisoners between 1838 and 1931. To begin with, the island was used as an Indigenous prison but later incarcerated non-aboriginals as well. There are 373 indigenous Australians buried at a site called Tentland. It is the largest known burial of Indigenous Australians.

The newly discovered spearhead dates back 100 years, but the Indigenous history of the island spans thousands of years with a 140 generations worth of stories handed down from generation to generation. By taking his students to Rottnest Island, Professor Collard is hoping to empower young people and encourage them to learn more about Indigenous culture in the Wedjemup area.

Header: Glass Spearhead, Len Collard

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