Green’s Dictionary of Slang

new chum n.

[SE new + chum n. ]

1. (Aus./N.Z./UK Und., also chum, chummy, recent chum) a prisoner just arrived in gaol, on the hulks or in Aus. or N.Z.

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. 163: chum a fellow prisoner in a jail, hulk, &c.; so there are new chums and old chums, as they happen to have been a short or long time in confinement.
A.J. Valpy Pamphleteer VI 488: After much remonstrance with Morris, the chum master, the new chum, sleeping in the room with the sick man for two nights, was removed.
W. Hutton Hist. Birmingham 410: A new chum [in debtors’ prison] is immediately beseiged by the inmates.
T.L. Mitchell Three Expeditions I 99: He was also what they termed a ‘new chum,’ or one newly arrived.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 28 Apr. 3/1: Macpherson, a ‘recent chum’ who not having sought these shores ‘in the regular way‘ was in for ‘satisfaction’.
[Aus]Age (Melbourne) 13 Dec. 5/2: John Price sticks to his ‘old hands’ above all others [and] a new chum, if he dared open his mouth, would be met by a scowl or a threat.
[UK]F. Fowler Southern Lights and Shadows 15: The battle of ‘old-handism’ against ‘new-chumism’ is nor everlastingly waging in Victoria as it is in New South Wales.
[Aus]J.F. Mortlock Experiences of a Convict (1965) 116: Rather a clever ‘new chum’.
[Aus]M. Clarke Old Tales of a Young Country 156: Stories of the horrors of Hell’s Gates with which they would beguile the time and attention of the convict ‘new chums’.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 160: Our appearance attracted notice from them all, and they knew at once we were ‘new chums.’.
[UK]M. Davitt Leaves from a Prison Diary I 140: Scarcely a single batch of ‘new chums’ (prisoners recently convicted) ever came to Dartmoor from Millbank [...] who did not bring some cheering news of an impending revolution in the law.
[US]Overland Monthly (CA) May 490: You ‘new chums’ have n’t the last idea of what a government-man’s (convict’s) life was in those days.
[US]Wash. Post 11 Nov. Misc. 3/6: Australia has enriched the argot with [...] ‘new chum.’.
[Aus]G.A. Wilkes Exploring Aus. Eng. 13: In convict parlance [...] a new chum was a new arrival in an English gaol or hulk.

2. (also chum) a newly arrived and thus inexperienced or naive immigrant (usu. from Britain); also attrib.

[Aus]C.P. Hodgson Reminiscences of Aus. 28: The ‘new chum’ is generally employed [...] in collecting the animals. [Ibid.] 366: ‘New Chum,’ in opposition to ‘Old Chum.’ The former ‘cognomen’ peculiarizing the newly-arrived Emigrant; the latter as a mark of respect attached to the more experienced Colonist.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 19 Feb. 2/5: The new chum forked out the dumps without delay.
[Aus]W. Kelly Life in Victoria I 60: Hotel-keepers [...] made no secret of their contempt for mere night-lodgers, or new chums who came to pile up money.
[Aus]J. Armour Diggings, the Bush, and Melbourne 27: His opponent, a ‘new chum’ fresh from England and conceited with excess of science, had looked on him as an unlearned bumpkin.
[NZ]M.A. Barker Station Life in N.Z. 126: Two gentlemen of the proposed party were ‘new chums’ like myself.
[Aus]‘Edward Howe’ Roughing It in Van Diemen’s Land 21: He had ‘spotted’ the captain, riding down with the young ‘new chum,’ to his house.
[NZ]N.Z. Observer (Auckland) 15 Jan. 174/1: Captain Morris [...] has been entertaining the new chums.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Aug. 14/3: ‘D’ye wait till ye’re thirsty before you drink?’ This idea seemed so amazingly ridiculous that the man thought it could have emanated from none but a new-chum, and he advised the Archdeacon to get back home again as he wouldn’t be a success out here if he didn’t irrigate.
[UK]‘Aus. Colloquialisms’ in All Year Round 30 July 66/2: A young man newly arrived in the Colonies from the Old Country is styled a ‘new chum,’ or a ‘lime-juice’ .
[Aus]F. Adams Australians 143: The ignorance of Victorians concerning the facts of daily existence in Queensland is often only one shade less than that of a full-blown British ‘new chum’.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 17: Chum, a new arrival in the colonies.
[Aus]E. Dyson Fact’ry ’Ands 167: Goss was something of a new chum and spoke with the remains of a barbarous North country dialect.
[SA]P. Fitzpatrick Jock of the Bushveld 198: He’s with a foreigner chap from Natal now. New chums are always roughest on the niggers.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 4 July 15/1: The recent epidemic of British farm immigrants seems to have created a new fund of Australian merriment over the ignorant newchum’s persistence in calling a paddock a ‘field.’ [Ibid.] 28 Nov. 16/2: The boss got him off one of the boats, and after he had been on the run a few days, Chummy was told to take a small mob of rams to the Coffin Rock paddock.
[Aus]B. Cronin Timber Wolves 186: I was bushed like any new chum.
[Aus](con. 1830s–60s) ‘Miles Franklin’ All That Swagger 82: The man put a stone in front of the back wheel [...] and saved him from ridicule as a new chum.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 61: A young Englishman learning sheep or cattle farming [...] was a new chum, cadet and, later, an archie.
[Aus]I.L. Idriess One Wet Season 76: He rode all night—the fool! A new-chum stockman, he’d lost the mob.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 231/2: chum – an immigrant from Britain.
[Aus]J. Hawke Follow my Dust! 61: To the new chum it was all most confusing.
[Aus]B. Hesling Dinkumization or Depommification 45: I told him how much I liked his talk and that I was a new chum.
[Aus]T. Ronan Mighty Men on Horseback 24: An old liar like him can earn easy money telling tales to soft headed newchums.
[Aus]G.A. Wilkes Exploring Aus. Eng. 13: We [...] describe an inexperienced person as a new chum.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 10: The latest batch of migrants were very quick to label the migrating hopefuls with various names, including new chum.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 141: new chum New arrival [Ibid.] 147: old chum/hand Experienced person, originally one with early settler experience that made him superior to the new chum. ANZ mid C19+.

3. a novice in any environment .

[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 11 Feb. 7/1: Then the new-chum with a swagger, which is purposely well feigned, / Staggers to his outside bedroom.
[UK]Sporting Times 9 June 3/3: Now comes where they think the hoss is on me. Sure as ye’re born they tip the waiter the wink I’m a new chum.
[NZ]‘Anzac’ On the Anzac Trail 52: The lower-class natives [...] cheated you right and left if you allowed them. It was only a new chum who gave them anything like the price they asked for their goods.
[Aus]E. Dyson ‘Mickie Mollynoo’ in ‘Hello, Soldier!’ 42: He’s sargin’ now, a vet’ran; I’m a newchum and a mug.
[UK]F. Anthony ‘Efficiency’ in Me And Gus (1977) 59: As a bit of a new chum, I come in for a lot of attention.
[Aus]Bug (Aus.) 7 Jan. 🌐 The Bash still fields disbelief from doubting Thomasinas about [...] coaches feeding young recruits aspirin and telling the new chums they are benzedrine.