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Office of Sport


A spear game recorded being played by the boys at Ulladulla in New South Wales. Small spears were thrown at pieces of wood which were placed into running water.

On Dunk Island in Queensland the boys used wood chips and pieces of bark floating on the water or threw objects at small fish.


A group of players

Playing area       

A swimming pool


  • Players use small rubber balls
  • Use larger balls, kick boards, rubber quoits, pieces of wood as targets

Game play and basic rules          

This is a throwing game played near water. One player tows a target (such as a rescue tube) across the pool and 5-7 metres in front of the line of players lined up along the edge of the pool. Throwers try to hit the target with a ball.


A team contest could be held with a swimmer from each team towing the tube across the pool. Count the number of hits made by players of the opposing team.


  • The player swimming across the pool with the rescue tube may swim underwater to avoid being hit by the balls being thrown
  • Throwers should try not to hit the player towing the ring
  • The throwing area is clearly defined


The activity is called yiri (to throw) from the language that was spoken in the Sydney area of New South Wales.

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