Lavery, Hugh, John Byers

Duck decoys represent a deep-seated interest in nature that has resulted – in North America – in the conservation of its natural wetlands. Yet decoys were used by Australian Aborigines and have since evolved over the millennia on the driest of all inhabited continents. Such a unique legacy, in all its forms and with all its history, offers a potential value that can enhance global conservation – by way of this extraordinary craft art.  The origins of the duck decoy are thus attributed to the Australian Aborigines, beginning about 20,000 years ago. Ancient bark discs were the first material form of duck decoy; the modern form in Australia derived some 165 years ago out of Scandinavia in company with early European settlers. Duck decoys and callers in Australia have evolved through hand-made, mass-produced and decorative styles – coinciding with shifts in active interest in waterfowl from food to later recreational pursuits to a now-increasing value as art and other imagery. This long history, representing a range of appealing waterfowl species unique to this continent, is an essential part of the global duck decoy legacy and is documented in detail for the first time in this book.  Selected examples of the broad collections of enduring Australian decoys and callers are illustrated here, including reference to the leading carvers and collectors working in this most colourful biogeographic realm.

In stock


Australian Environment International,  2017.  289 pages, 460+ colour illustrations and photographs, maps.