Curved throwing stick used chiefly by the aborigines of Australia for hunting and warfare. About 12–30 in. (30–75 cm) in length, the returning boomerang varies in shape from a deep curve to almost straight sides of an angle. The ends are twisted or skewed in opposite directions. It is held at one end, above and behind the thrower's shoulder, and swung forward rapidly. Just before release, the thrower adds spin by flicking the wrist so that the stick will loop around and return to him. Returning boomerangs were used only in eastern and western Australia as playthings, in tournament competition, and by hunters to imitate hawks for driving flocks of game birds into nets. The longer, straighter, and heavier nonreturning boomerang can kill animals and even humans.