“I’ve been carving things out of wood since I was young, living at Cherbourg settlement. I carved my first walking stick for my dad in 1969. I love burning images onto the wood – because it’s there straight away. You don’t have to wait for paint to dry, or wash up the brushes afterwards!
Clapsticks weren’t really part of our early teachings and traditions; for music we used to clap bigger things – like boomerang and woomera – together. Clapsticks were traditionally used for lots of things – music, hunting, ceremony, and as message sticks – to travel from one country to another. You had to have them to have access to and be allowed to enter onto other people’s land.
Sometimes now I write a message on a clapstick, and then give it to someone. It’s a modern way to pass on a message! One time I wrote “I’m sorry, so sorry, it wont happen again”. I showed it to one of the fellas and he said ‘I’ll have a dozen of them!”. I reckon he’s breaking a lot of hearts.”