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Art of Travel

and they have the advantage of requiring a minimum of string
(or substitute for string) in their manufacture. The straw,
reeds, or herbage, of almost
any description, is simply
nipped between two pairs
of long sticks, which are

I   f   respectively tied together

at their ends, and at a

sufficient number of inter

mediate places. The whole is neatly squared and trimmed. A few of these would give good help in finishing the roof or walls of a house. They can be made moveable, so as to suit the wind, shade, and aspect. Even the hut door can be made on this principle. In reedy countries where there are no sticks, thin faggots of reeds are used in their place.

Bark.-Bark is universally used in Australia for roofs of huts and temporary buildings; the colonists learnt the use of it from the natives, and some trees, at least, in every forestcountry might very probably be found as well fitted for that purpose as those in Australia. The bark may be easily removed, only when the sap is well up in the tree, but a skilful person will manage to procure bark at all seasons of the year, except in the coldest winter months; and even then he will light on some tree, from the sunny side of which he can strip broad pieces. The process of bark-stripping is simply to cut two rings right round the tree (usually from 6 to 9 feet apart), and one vertical slit to join them ; starting from the slit, and chipping away step by step on either side, the whole cylinder of bark is removed. The larger the tree, the better ; for if the tree is less than 18 inches, or so, in diameter, the bark is apt to break when flattened out. 'When stripped for huts, it is laid on the ground for some days to dry, being flattened out on its face, and a few stones or logs put on it. The ordinary bark of gum-trees is about half an inch to threeeighths thick, so that a large sheet is very heavy. Most exploring expeditions are accompanied by a black, whose dexterity in stripping bark for a wet night is invaluable, as if the bark will " come off" well, he can procure enough of it in an hour's time to make a shelter for a large party.

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