E.31764 Click to enlarge image
Close up of points on a four-pronged Indigenous fishing spear. Bone points are bound to each prong with plant fibre and secured with resin. On the lowest prong, both of the exposed ends of the bone point - the tip and the barb - can be seen. The prongs are 56 cm long and the shaft is 200 cm long. The spear was purchased by the Australian Museum in 1884. Image: unknown
© Australian Museum

Fishing spears had several parts, each made from different materials.

The First Fleet colonists described them as having shafts which were up to 6 m in length made from wood or the flowering stems of grass trees.The prongs were made of wood and were about 30 cm long. Pieces of bone, stingray spines, shell, fish teeth or hardwood were used to point and/or barb the prongs. Barbs made of kangaroo or wallaby bone were sharpened or ground to a point at one or both ends. Each of these parts was bound together with two-ply twine or unplied plant fibre which was coated with resin.