Australian swagman costume

Australian swagman costume

“Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong …” You can create a jolly swagman outfit with things you’ve got at home. Just add cork hat, a billy and a homemade swag and your little swagman is ready to camp out.

What you need:

  • 1 x checked flannel shirt
  • 1 x pair of old brown pants
  • 1 x red neck kerchief
  • 1 x towel (to roll up for a swag)
  • 1 x billy or water canteen
  • 1 x broad brimmed hat
  • 6-10 corks (or beads if you can’t locate corks)
  • string

Number of players:


Make your swagman hat by attaching corks or beads to the brim of the hat with string. These will help keep the flies off your “swaggie’s” face while he’s roaming the countryside.

Dress in shirts and pants, add the red kerchief around the neck. Tie bits of string around the knees (to keep snakes from slithering up).

Make a swag by rolling up a towel or blanket. Tie string around either end, then loop an old dressing gown belt through both ends and use it as a strap to carry the swag on your back.

Draw on a bushy beard or you can make one out of brown or black felt.

Now go catch that jumbuck for tucker.


  • The “Waltzing Matilda” in Banjo Patterson’s lyrics refers to the swaying motion of swagmen as they roamed the countryside with their swags swaying from side to side on their backs.
  • The leather thongs tied below the knee of a swagman’s trousers are ‘bowyangs.’ They stop the trouser waist falling down when the swaggie squats: prevents ‘builder’s bum,’ if you like.

Leave A Comment