Captain Cook's boomerang to make a handsome return

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Captain Cook's boomerang has returned - and could bring its owner £60,000.

The explorer collected the strange, crooked stick in 1770 while surveying Australia, but he had no idea what it was for, or even what it was called. He thought that it was a wooden sword; his botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, believed it to be a short scimitar.

Captain James Cook returned to England with the boomerang in 1771, and was still ignorant of its secrets when he was killed eight years later. He left it, and two wooden Aboriginal clubs also collected on the expedition, to his wife, Elizabeth, who in turn bequeathed them to her friend Joan Leach Bennett, in whose family they have remained.

Next month the previously unrecorded boomerang and the clubs will be auctioned at Christie's exploration and travel sale. The boomerang is expected to fetch up to £60,000 and the clubs up to £30,000.

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