Swag Carriers


SWAG CARRIERS and HAWKERS

Carrying the swag encouraged humour and nicknames. I recall taping Bart Saggers in 1973, who had been a ‘professional swagman’ during the 1930s depression. He said his name was ‘The Great Australian Bite’ because he claimed to have even snaffled rations off other swagmen

Carrying the Swag Competition.

“At a recent Walgett show there was a prize for ‘carrying the swag’. The Walgett News says: “the best made up swag to be carried once around the ring was undoubtedly the most amusing event at the show. Mr Hazlett, of this town, was the only competitor. After ‘humping’ the swag around the ring in rare style, he proceeded to camp for the night. In about seven minutes he had his tent pitched, the fire fixed and his frying pan and quart pot ready for use. Several hundred people witnessed the proceedings”
From The Shearers & General Livestock Laborers Record. July 1891

Scotty the Wrinkler Best known for once stealing, along with a couple of mates, a sheep. When they heard the troopers coming Scotty jumped into his bedding and held the sheep between his legs. “Tell them I have the flu”. The troopers came to the fire, saw no sheep and left.
from Aust Journal. 1860s
Professor Davis Kyneton Victoria. Always carried snakes inside a spare tucker-bag. At night he would allow the snakes to sit under his hat, on his head, around his neck etc. used to cadge drinks with it at pubs.
from Aust Journal. 1860s
Professor Fenton Victoria. Was a known horse whisperer and was in high demand when stations were breaking in horses.
from Aust Journal. 1860s
Professor Mercer Escapologist, sword swallower, magician. Best known for allowing himself to be sewn into Hessian sugar bags and then thrown into the river – he usually took 3 minutes to surface.
from Aust Journal. 1860s
Syrian Mary Syrian Mary was a hawker who lived in the NSW town of Mudgee. Twice each year she would routinely walk north-west to Coolah, a distance of just over 200 kilometres return.

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Doggy Tom Always travelled with a pack of dogs. When he met a settler he’d say ”

Introduction
 Eccentrics
Swag Carriers
Street sellers and their chants
Oddities of suburban and rural life
‘Hungry’ Tyson yarns
Flying Pieman
Up on Your Soapbox, Johnny
Early Street Entertainers & Beggars

a shilling a dog” – the dogs were all trained to go with the new owner and as soon as it reached its new home it would hot foot it back to the swaggies camp and pack.
from Aust Journal. 1860s

Hollow Log Jack From the Monaro. Slept in a hollow log which he always cleaned out and plugged so snakes and rabbits couldn’t use whilst he was travelling.
from Aust Journal. 1860s
Pumpkin Paddy Sowed seeds as he travelled the country and particularly the Warrego and Condamine areas.
from Aust Journal. 1860s
Charcoal Annie Female sundowner in Riverina. Burned charcoal in the riverbeds and sold to blacksmiths.
from Aust Journal. 1860s

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Reverend Selwyn Sowed citrus seeds whilst riding from station to station along the Richmond river. Lemon trees in unusual places are still known as ‘parson’s lemons’
from Aust Journal. 1860s
Quondong Joe West NSW. Used quandong seeds for everything – buttons, rosary, novelties, necklaces.
from Aust Journal. 1860s
Red Jack Female swag carrier Annie Doyle who worked West Qld tracks, had cuddy horse that won many races.
from Aust Journal. 1860s
Wheelbarrow ‘Wheelbarrow’ pushed his wheelbarrow for over 50 years around Riverina district selling household wares. Had a long white beard and never wore boots or shoes despite having huge 13″ feet. Once warmed his feet by a campfire and stood on the lid of the camp oven – which was extremely hot. The rest of the crew could smell something burning and realised it was Wheelbarrow’s feet – they mentioned it and he moved and said, “Yes, trifle warm’.
The Shearers’ Record newspaper Oct 15, 1889
Abdul Wadi Famous Afghan had 400 camels and 60 drivers working in 1890s covering SA, Q, NSW. Drivers earned 3 pounds a week and a 3 year contract. The only Afghan word to enter our language was Hooshta, which was a camel command. Probably became whoosh or hoosh in vernacular.