National doll produced to represent an Australian Swagman, it was given to Monica Gates, circa 1960s. Swagmen were a common feature in Australian rural life during the gold rush, the 1860 and1890 depressions and the Great depression of the 1930s. The swagman is commonly depicted with his canvas swag on his back, hat on his head (often a corked hat), and billy in hand. They have been and remain an Australian icon, popularised in music, art, stories and film, such as Banjo Patterson's song 'Waltzing Matilda' and Frederick McCubbin's painting 'Down on his Luck'.

The Gates collection contains 170 national dolls from 74 different countries and some correspondence relating to the acquisition of several of the dolls. The costumes of the dolls represent national costumes from the 19th Century to the 1990s. Monica Gates collected or was given these dolls between 1957 and 1990.

These dolls were purchased as souvenirs of particular countries and like many mass produced souvenirs they are often not accurate representations of a particular country or region, and may actually better reflect neighbouring counties or regions. This occurs because costumes are often stylised and simplified resulting dolls wearing generic costume elements which are common to many countries/regions. Often the fabrics and decorations used are selected to make the dolls cheap and easy to manufacture and aesthetically pleasing. This can result in the fabrics, colours and decorations of the doll's clothing having little or no reflection of the costume associated with a particular country or region they are meant to be representative of.

Physical Description

This male doll is standing on a wooden base and is made from rope and a ping pong ball. The doll is wearing grey soft fabric trousers, a blue and white check shirt, and a beige tweed jacket. He has soft black boots, is carrying a billy in his right hand and is holding a walking stick in his left. Over his left shoulder the doll is carrying a rolled up blanket and has a brown beard and brown hat.

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