Ever wondered how effective wooden spears were?

When I look at collections of indigenous wood spears, like the ones on display at MAMA in Albury, I often wonder how effective they were, especially the hardened native wood precontact items.


The answer: Very, frighteningly so.

What you see above is a hole about the size of a 5 cent coin in the front of our Subaru. Like many modern cars it has a metal fender covered with an aerodynamic plastic fairing. The fairing has a little bit of high density material behind it to absorb minor parking knocks – making it a little like a bike helmet in terms of industrial design, except the shock absorbing layer is thinner.

Now I havn’t been set on by men with spears, but last Thursday, the severe bushfire warning day, we had to go to Melbourne for an appointment.

Driving conditions were truly horrible with smoke, heat, dust and to add to the fun,  bits of tree debris being blown about in 100km winds. The train wasn’t an option as they’d understandably cancelled all the country train services due to the risk of the heat buckling the tracks,  and replaced them with buses with no real guarantee of arrival time.

Rather than go directly into the city we looped round to the east by turning off the freeway at Seymour, thinking conditions might be a little better. They weren’t – just as much flying debris, including somewhere just short of Yea,  a bit of eucalypt branch which managed to impale itself in the front fairing, cleverly missing any of the protective metal bits of the fender behind the fairing.

Fortunately it doesn’t seem to have damaged anything else and it’s a reasonably easy job for the body shop to replace the fairing. I’ve no idea yet as to costs – the fairing’s around two hundred bucks for either a third party one, or one from a dismantler.

However, what it does show is the penetrative power of a hardwood spear, certainly enough to severely maim, if not actually kill …

About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
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