This photograph is one of my favourites from the Powerhouse Museum's Tyrrell photographic collection which is viewable not only at the Musuem's website, but also on flickr. (follow the links above).
Here we see some swaggies "On the wallaby track" which means there were itinerants searching for work as they walked from place to place on Australia's country tracks. The pic is probably taken in the 1890's and is from the studio of Charles Kerry.
A swaggie was considered an honest worker, and often worked in excahnge for meals from the farmhouse or cookhouse. A swaggie should not be confused with a sundowner, which was a man who turned up at a farm around sundown when work ceases asking for a meal, but who would leave before sunup the next day and therefore could not be asked to make good on the meal with some work on the property.
As I was driving along this afternoon I saw these five ladies walking along, each with backpacks, walking staffs and drink bottles.
Modern day swaggies?
They kindly consented to having their photograph taken - and I told them they could see it on this blog by this afternoon. If one of them would care to contact me and give me their names I shall more accurately caption the 2008 photograph. At the time, it didn't seem right to ask each of them to spell out their names for me.
They did a bit of chiacking about getting their pic taken to compare to the swaggies, and suggested I should title the pic as The Grannies!