State Library of NSW
GEORGES ISLAND Manners & Customs
down & lay it a Certain time in Water, this makes the Bark Strip off easy. the outside of which is scraped off with a rough Shell. after this is done it looks like long strips of ragged linnen[sic]. These they lay together by means of a fine [pad?] made of some sort of a rod, to the Breadth of a yard more or less, & in length 6: 8 or 10 Yards or more according to the use it is for, after it is thus put together it is beat out to its proper breadth, & length upon a long square Piece of wood with wooden beaters the Cloth being kept wet all the time, the beaters are made of hard wood with 4 square sides & about a foot long including the handle which is round each of the square sides are about 3 or 4 inches broad & cut into groves of different finess[sic] this makes the Cloth look at first sight as if it was wove with thread but I believe the Principal use of the Groves is to facilitate the beating it out in the doing of which they often beat holes in it or one place thinner than another but this is easily repair'd by pasting on small bits & this they do in such a manner that the Cloth is not, the least injured, the finest sort when bleached is very white & & comes nearest the fine Cotton, thick cloth especially fine so made by parting two or more thickness's of thin cloth made for that Purpose together Coarse thick cloth & ordinary thin cloth is made of the Bark of Bread fruit Trees, & I think I have been told that it is sometimes made from the Bark of other trees, the making of Cloth is wholly the work of the women in which all ranks are employ'd, their common colours are red, brown & Yellow, with which they dye some Pieces just as their fancy leads them, beside Cloth they made several diff.t sorts of matting & both better & finer than any we have in Europe, the stuff they make it on is the Produce of the Palm tree,
This Island produced 2 or 3 sorts of Plants of which they make the rope they use in rigging their Canoes &tc. the finest sort such as fishing lines, saine twine &tc. is made of the Bark of a Tree & some from the Kind of Silk grass, their fishing line & Saines are in Point of goodness preferable to any of ours, their fishing Hooks are very curiously made of Tortoise Pearl Oyster Shells &tc. they have a sort of a Saine that is made of Coarse broad grass like flags these are twisted & tied together in a loose manner until the whole is as thick as a large sack & 60 or 8 fathom long this they haul in Shoal smooth Water its own weight keeps it so close to the ground that hardly the smallest fish can escape out,
I have before mentioned that this Island is divided into two districts or kingdoms which are frequently at warr[sic] with each other, as hap
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