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Tucker bag is a traditional Australian term for a storage bag used by travellers in the outback, typically a swagman or bushman, for carrying subsistence food.[1] In its basic design a tucker bag is a pouch or bag with a single entry typically closed with a drawstring, and may have been made of leather or oilskin.

The tucker bag should not be confused with the swag, also carried by outback travellers, whether on foot, horse or pushbike, which may have comprised blankets (usually blue, hence "bluey", another name for a swag),[2] waterproof sheet, personal effects, and basic cooking implements such as a billy. The swag would generally be carried as a sausage-shaped roll slung over the shoulder, and the tucker bag in front.[1]

The term "tucker bag" appears in a number of traditional Australian songs and poems, including Waltzing Matilda "Whose is that jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?", reflecting the tucker bag's place in Australian culture and history.

Bullockies and drivers of horse-drawn vehicles were not so constrained by need for portability, so a greater quantity of food could be carried in a tucker box, as exemplified by the story of the Dog on the Tuckerbox. The contents would be similar though: salt beef, tea, flour and sugar or golden syrup and perhaps tinned jam.[1]

In more modern times, tucker bags have become associated with reusable grocery bags[citation needed] used when shopping or travelling. Modern bags are typically made from polyester and come in a variety of styles and designs.

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  1. ^ a b c W. S. Ramson, ed. (1988). The Australian National Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 691. ISBN 0195547365.
  2. ^ William H. Wilde; Joy Hooton; Barry Andrews (1994). The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature. Oxford University Press. pp. 333, 550, 731. ISBN 019553381 X.