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Grindstone - Large Oval Nardoo, Millstone [ref reg] Wilcannia District NSW Area D Don: Mr Colin James McMaster Date:07 Dec 1922 Image: Allison Dejanovic
© Australian Museum

The larger stones which form the lower platform are called Millstones. With deep indentations, they hold material to be ground up by the smaller stones, otherwise known as Mullers.

Grindstones can be used for grinding seed into flour for bread making, cracking of animal bone for the extraction of marrow, for pulverising cartilage and small animals such as lizards. They were also used for grinding up pigments such as ochres, to prepare resin and bush tobacco, and to sharpen and smooth wooden and stone tools. 

The volume of grindstones on record in Museums, community centres, still on Country and in private collections is a testament to the vast amount of food production occurring over 1000’s of years in Australia. The Australian Museum holds in its collections, pieces of grindstones that have traces of plant and animal material that have been dated at 32,000 years. Such evidence suggests that Aboriginal Australians were in line with or even the first in the world to make damper or bread.