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Old 11th September 2015, 10:38 PM   #1
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Default Another Keeling Cocos knife

The so-called Keeling Cocos knives are very uncommon and seem to be a hybrid of Malay, Southern Asian, and British/Australian influences. I come across one every 3-5 years or so, and found another one online recently that came from an Australian dealer. This one has the typical hilt and wooden scabbard, but the blade appears to be a recycled Brades machete (with the British makers name and trademark still present). The Brades brand comes from the Brades foundry owned by William Hunt & Sons. A page from the Brades catalogue of 1941 (see at bottom) shows the pagoda trademark that can be seen still on the blade of this knife, along with the Brades name.

The wood used in the scabbards and hilts is likely to be from Casuarina equisetifolia, a she-oak species of the genus Casuarina, and is sometimes referred to as "Beach Ironwood." This tree is native to the Cocos Keeling Islands and is one of the few sources of hardwood there.

Other threads dealing with these knives can be found here:

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Last edited by Ian : 12th September 2015 at 08:52 PM. Reason: Added note on Casuarina equisetifolia
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Old 13th September 2015, 09:05 AM   #2
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interesting stuff.. they seem to have very distinctive features.. pinned sheaths.. the large swell in the sheathfor the hilt to enter.. the bulbuled pinned handles... the large chiols.. lanyard holes.. e ect ect..
I imagine there would have been on such a small island only 1 or two people making tools and knives at any one time.. but from what I understand before the islands were annexed by Australia knives like this were carried by every person on the island and the king/owner of the island can be seen in several images waring such a knife...

there seem to have been several distinct styles.... one small and like a knife with more of a point and one larger and more like a small slightly pointed chopper.
seems most show up in the u.s.a. and british troops were on the island during ww2 in number... so maybe they were big customers.
I have seen one with a bone handle like a small knife sold by an Australian dealer and another larger one ones.. but that's it...

we should just contact somebody in the islands they are all related families and will know who made them and when and for what ect ect ....

as there is only a few actual families I imagines there was a blacksmith family. even among the diaspora in Malaysia there is just a few... they are also endogamous... reverse of typical malay custom... maybe they even still make the odd thing today..
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Old 13th September 2015, 10:43 AM   #3
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Hello Ian,

very interesting addition to growing Cocos Island knife collection. You should show all in one picture to see the different sizes of them. Until now I haven't seen two identical ones.
I also own one of this knives, here a few pictures.

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