Object detail

Description
Double layered leather pad with three straps and metal buckles.
Classification
CH classification RECREATIONS Camping rucksack
Maker
Measurements
L590 x W525mm
Media/Materials description
Leather (Animal/Human Remains)
Signature/Marks
[??] & Sons / MAKERS / [?] ELIZABETH ST SYDNEY
History and use
This leather bedroll cover would have contained blankets or other bedding which was rolled up and carried, also known as a ‘swag’. Workers in late 19th and early 20th century Queensland often had to travel to find work, taking their bedding and other belongings with them wrapped up in a waterproof swag. Now often romanticised as ‘swagmen’ these itinerant rural workers, often sheep shearers, travelled on foot or sometimes on horseback, and later, in the 20th century, by bicycle.

Writer C.E.W. Bean described the shearers he saw on bicycles on his travels in the early 20th century throughout the rural areas of Australia:

"on every one doubled and tied fast over the handles and front fork, and often over the carrier and back fork as well, as tight and snug and curly as a white garden grub was the conventional swag. …It is always rolled and strapped in three places with particular care. The outside roll is usually a canvas tent fly or a length of American leather; sometimes a warm rug of possum skins, home-stitched and tanned, leather side outwards".

Uploaded to the Web 27 May 2011.
Registration number
H25850

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