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fine weave dillybag

in Uw Oykangand and Uw Olkola
in Pakanh

Fine weave dillybag, Kowanyama Land and Natural Resources Management Office, March 16 1997 [PH]. The Australian 50 cent coin, roughly 32 mm in diameter, allows for an estimation of size.

The fine weave bag is a very common type of traditional bag usually woven from pandanus fibre. Its primary function is in collecting food but it can be used to carry anything. It can be worn around the neck when swimming to collect waterlily roots and stalk, clams, turtles and fish. They are used to collect fish after poisoning a waterhole (see fish poison). Lofty Yam:

"All the fish is there all laid on the bank, barra, everything. Turtle and all. All right them take, pick, spear him all them fish, smash all the spear. Not little fish here -- all big feller, big old barra too. Loooad 'em up. Got big coolamon, you know, keep fill him into that coolamon. Some they got dilly bag, big dilly bag, that long one [several feet long]. Keep put 'em in there. Big coolamon. All dilly bag take one side, everybody got dilly bag each, everybody, they carry the fish home. Take back thataway, Alice River, cook 'em there."

Dillybags are also used as a strainer, such as when process yam pulp. Also, when making fish poison leaves are put in a dillybag and the bag is rubbed in the water to get the soap out. This is done with the leaves of fish poison tree, Acacia ditricha, soapy wattle or fish poison wattle, Acacia holosericea, soapy tree, Alphitonia sp.? and freshwater mangrove, Barringtonia acutangula. See the Plant usage page for more information on the uses of plant products in traditional industry. See also the fish poison page.

Fine weave dillybags are sometimes painted with ochre or with a yellow dye made from the roots of the dye tree, Morinda citrifolia.

See images of other fine weave bags:

  • [Image 2]
  • [Image 3]
  • [Image 4]
  • [Image 5]
  • [Image 6]
  • [Image 7]
  • [Image 8]
  • e-mail: Philip Hamilton.