MYOG – Flint and Steel – the Pocket Strike-a-Light Outfit

Back in the olden days, when matches were scarce in the outlying areas, many bushmen went back to their ancestral roots and used flint and steel instead. I’m not talking about the spark-showering ferrocerium rods sold today as “firesteels”, ferrocerium wasn’t even invented until the early 20th Century. No, what I’m talking about is a lump of steel (high carbon is best) struck against a lump of rock (flint or quartz, etc.) with the resulting spark caught by some form of tinder (charred cloth or dried fungus) and then coaxed into a flame with the addition of some bullswool (such as a bundle of dry grass or shredded stringybark). That’s a crash course in the use of the traditional flint and steel. The good news is that the use of a traditional flint and steel becomes much easier with practice.

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MYOG Australian Writer and Poet Henry Lawson’s Bush-Made Dip Pen

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Henry Lawson’s bush-made dip pen from his couple of years living and working in Leeton, NSW. This pen is held by the National Library of Australia as a national treasure.

Knowing a bit about the man, this little artefact is quite poignant. It’s the little dip pen used by Australian writer and poet Henry Lawson during his time living in Leeton NSW in 1916 and 1917.

Despite all the acclaim, Lawson never forgot his roots. He was a bush bard and even when he was mixing it up with the gentry and wearing a topcoat and hat, his spirit was still in his old moleskins and a Crimean shirt. He never forgot the hardships of the 1890 – 1893 Depression.

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