The didgeridoo (also spelled Didjeridu),
is possibly the oldest wind instrument in the world.
It is a tree or limb that is naturally hollowed out
by termites, who eat the dead (heartwood) part of the
tree. It is used for ceremony, celebration, healing,
stories, and to connect the aboriginals to their ancesters
in the dreamtime.
In modern day it
has evolved into a versatile musical instrument. It
is used for healing, meditation, rhythm, and is played
in all styles of music. "Non-aboriginal people first
documented encountering the didjeridu when an explorer
named T.B. Wilson described an aboriginal man playing
an instrument called the eboro in Raffles Bay on the
Coburg Peninsula in 1835. He described the instrument
as being made of bamboo and about three feet in length.
The earliest references to the instrument all occur
in the later part of the last century. In the century
that followed, the instrument was observed by anthropologists
on mainland Arnhem Land.
The hard wood instruments
particular to Arnhem Land (yirdakis) were usually crafted
from eucalyptus species like "stringy bark" and "woolybutt"
in the North, and Red River Gum further south near Katherine.
There is also documentation of didgeridoos made of palm
even further south. By the time anthropologist Alice
Moyle was publishing her field work in the mid 1970s,
aboriginal groups where using found pipes such as land
rover tailpipes and water pipes as didgeridoos.