In the early days it was a sneaky trek out the back door with a toilet roll and a box of matches hidden under ones jumper, the down to the patch of Stringy Bark trees that grew along the ridge line overlooking the city. Red and his mate Bluey scampered up the hill and a bit out of breath lent against the first big gum tree, taking stock of the availability of the fine fibre that was the bark of the Stringy Bark tree.
They proceeded to pull the bark from the tree and squashed and knead in their hands until it was real fine, they then unraveled some toilet roll and placed the bark on the paper and began to roll it up like a cigarette . “Come on” says Red to Bluey,” hurry up, I want to have a smoke” “alright” says Red “hang on to your horses, you can have your smoke when I have rolled it properly”
“Righto” says Red “let’s get the matches and light this smoke up” Red took the first puff and snorted and coughed and spluttered, then wheezed, “she is a bloody good smoke this one, burn your tongue and mouth if you draw to hard” “Give me ago” says Bluey, I want to have my smoke too” “Here you go” says Red “now don’t draw to hard or you will catch fire in your belly, the smoke is that hot” “No worries I’ll be right” says Bluey, but after the first puff he races down to the creek “yelling, my mouths on fire, I’m burning and the dumps his head into the water, thus putting out the fire in his mouth.
“Ge’ez” says Bluey ” no more for me, that felt hotter than hell. Red had a few more puffs and he too had to head for the water to quell the fire in his mouth. That’s it they both agreed, there would be no more smoking of the Stringy Bark and in fact they both agreed that they would never ever smoke again.
A healthy lesson learned the hard way unlike the publicity given to smoking in the days of the Malbora Man.