• US astronaut Shannon Walker with a boomerang designed by proud Kaurna and Narungga man, Jack Buckskin aboard the International Space Station. (SA Government. )Source: SA Government.
Proud Kaurna and Narungga man Jack Buckskin crafted the boomerang that's currently on board the International Space Station
By
Douglas Smith

27 Jan 2021 - 10:41 AM  UPDATED 27 Jan 2021 - 10:48 AM

First Nations culture is being honoured in outer space, with astronauts carrying a special handcrafted boomerang aboard the International Space Station.

Carved out of Western Myall wood by proud Kaurna and Narungga man, Jack Buckskin, the boomerang has been received by the crew of NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 mission.

Mr Buckskin has had his work showcased in different parts of the world, but said it was "beyond words" to have something he designed taken into space. 

“I’ve been very lucky to have Aboriginal items, such as shields, in places around the world like Austria and India which I thought was an awesome experience, but to have something up in space which is untouched territory is beyond words,” said Mr Buckskin. 

“We talk about connections with Aboriginal people, we talk about land, sea and sky but I don’t think space is a part of that sky world that we’re talking about.

"It’s pretty crazy that something that has been handmade down here is up in the reality of the sky world with our Aboriginal ancestors from that part of our culture.”

It was commissioned by the South Australian Museum as an expression of modern Aboriginal culture and ingenuity and sent to US astronaut Shannon Walker after being presented to the state government at a ceremony last year.

"We are honoured and delighted to have it on board with us," said Dr Walker in a video recorded aboard the International Space Station.

"After the flight we plan to return it to South Australia for public display, where we hope it will inspire people young and old to remember that human exploration has a long and deep history within the earliest human culture.”

Dr Walker is the wife of Adelaide astronaut, Andy Thomas, who took a boomerang to space aboard the Endeavour spacecraft in 1996.  

The spacecraft, manufactured by Elon Musk's SpaceX and dubbed Resilience by its crew of three Americans and one Japanese astronaut, launched from Florida's Kennedy Space Centre in November and docked at the ISS two days later.

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