Over the last decade, the popularity of the didgeridoo has skyrocketed. Worldwide interest and demand for the instrument has changed the lives of today's Australians dramatically. Power tools, 4-wheel drive trucks and modern woodworking techniques have propelled the traditional crafting of Aboriginal instruments into big business. The didgeridoos that come out of Australia today have the same origin, coming from termite hollowed trees, but production methods have blended with modern technology to keep up with the growing world-wide demand for quality instruments that are played with rock bands and symphony orchestras.
When the trees are harvested, often only a very small hole is exposed. During the finishing procedure the mouthpiece will be carefully sanded to become playable without removing any more wood than is necessary. A natural mouthpiece is preferred.
These photos came from the shared workshop of Frank Thill and Djalu Gurruwiwi, two of today's finest didgeridoo craftsmen. Demand for didgeridoos are so great that the Australian government has begun to require conservation tags in some areas to insure the future supply of instruments by protecting them from over-harvesting. See the Wandoo website for more information. Wandoo is another maker of fine Aboriginal didgeridoos.