Friday, 7 August 2015

Peace or Punch-up?

Which of the following items is for aggression, which for peaceful purposes and which for either?
Please identify each item and describe its purpose, period, origin and any other relevant information.


Two Aboriginal Antiques - Hand Carved Wood Marriage Paddle and Staff, c. 1920


A wood and brass fid or marlinspike. Marline is a small line of untwisted hemp, very pliant and well tarred, to seize the ends of ropes from raveling out.  Today marline is any strong waxed cord. In the age of sail the marline was not waxed but tarred. The only way to loosen the tarred marline from a rope was to pick the marline free. This was normally done with a bone or iron spike. The act of picking the line free was known as marling. Thus the spike became known as the marlingspike or marlinespike and more recently marlinspike.


The Ula or Ulu is a throwing club from the Fiji Islands. It is carved from the root stem of a local bush, and it is extremely hard. About 18 inches long.





  1. The third picture is, I think of a south Sea Island Club. It was know colloquially as a 'G-donka. The fourth items are Indian clubs for excercising the arm and chest muscles. The fifth item is an Irish blackthorn shelailagh, probably 19th century, and used for whaling the tar out of friends and neighbours at the local goose fair. the last item is a police truncheon, from Norfolk, and very early Victorian, circa 1840.

    1. Excellent work, Mike, only I think 'G-donka is the Suffolk dialect for the Fijian word Ulu 37 out of 60 points.

  2. P.s. The last item might well be just pre Victorian, giving it a date of circa 1820 to 1840.