First Weapons

Executive Producer: 

Jacob Hickey


Dena Curtis & Jacob Hickey


Dean Gibson


Phil Breslin






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For tens of thousands of years, the First Australians have used savvy, skill and science to craft and create weapons to hunt, kill and survive. For the first time ever, host Phil Breslin sets out on an action-packed adventure across Australia to lift the lid on the genius and science of Australia’s oldest, most innovative, and deadliest weapons.

Visiting Kaurna Country in South Australia, Phil investigates Australia’s most iconic first weapon – the Returning Boomerang. Phil and weapon maker Moogy Sumner put the world’s first flying craft through its paces when they take on the newest flying aircraft in the ultimate race of Returning Boomerang V Drone.

Moving north to the Northern Territory Phil heads out bush to the community of Amplitawatja on Alyawarr country to discover the Amerr – the spear thrower. Phil spends time with senior weapon makers Donald Thompson, John Duggie, Casey Holmes and Frank Holmes. He then heads to Meanjin - Brisbane - to unpack its scientific principles and test historian Eric Wilmott’s statement that “until the invention of the self-loading rifle, the woomera and spear were the fastest weapons on earth”.

Following the mighty Murray River to Wadi Wadi Country in Victoria, Phil discovers lethal hand combat weapons - the Leangle Club and Parrying Shield. Phil and weapon makers Brendan Kennedy and Trevor Kirby then meet with a crack team of experts to unpack the science of the weapons. In a finale, it’s a celebration of skill and innovation as the 1868’s Australian Cricketer Dick-a-Dick’s crowd-pleasing and playful demonstrations are honoured.

Arriving in Menang Noongar country in Western Australia, Phil learns about the Kodj – a well-known and widely used hafted axe made by the Noongar people of South-Western Australia. From sourcing the materials to making his own Kodj, Phil learns the inherent knowledge of weapon maker Larry Blight and the science of this versatile weapon.

Jumping Bass Strait to Tasmania, Phil discovers the practice and craft of the Long Spear. Lengths ranging between 2.5 to 5 meters, crafted from the tea-tree or dogwood tree, this weapon is unique to the Palawa People. Unpacking the science of the Long Spear, Phil and weapon maker Dave mangenner Gough discover the intricate scientific principles that allow this weapon to fly long distance across the Aboriginal hunting plains of Tasmania.

Finally, the series culminates in the discovery of the Wartilykirri – the Number 7 Boomerang, Australia’s most lethal boomerang used mostly by the tribes of Central Australia. Phil meets up with Warumungu weapon maker and artist Joseph Williams to learn about this versatile weapon before witnessing its extraordinary manoeuvrability and deadly force in a medieval combat battle.

First Weapons is an action-packed adventure across Australia, as host Phil Breslin reveals the inherent scientific knowledge of First Nations people. It celebrates how they have mastered scientific principles in aerodynamics, chemistry, velocity, and kinetic energy for thousands of years. Through this series we showcase some of Australia’s deadliest weapons, but also take the audience on a journey to discover First Nations history, culture and genius, in a way never seen before on television.