A new exhibition showcasing the history and the culture of the instrument aims to change that.
A career as an instrumentalist has taken William Barton from "the soundscapes of the Australian bushland" to Carnegie Stadium, the Beijing Olympics, and even a private concert for Queen Sofia of Spain.
Now it's taken him to Adelaide's Town Hall, where he's collaborating with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, as part of the world-first exhibition on the didjeridu, The Sound of Australia.
Barton learned the didjeridu from his uncle while growing up in Mt Isa, and immediately loved how it connected him to people "not only from this land Australia, but to the oceans beyond".
"It's more than just an instrument … it has a spirit in it. It's a raw cut of a branch of a tree," Barton said.
As part of the exhibition, the South Australian Museum's collection of didjeridus, many from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, are on display along with stories of their history and culture.
"The misconceptions come through people not having access … so it's a really great initiative of the SA museum to be at the forefront of bringing, for the first time in Australian history, a yidaki [didjeridu] exhibition."
The future of the didjeridu is secure, according to Barton, but he wants more people to take it up.
"It's forever changing, you can go down to Mitre 10 or Bunnings and buy some PVC pipes and whack it together and that's your first didjeridu for $10," he said.