Green’s Dictionary of Slang

drum n.5

[the shape]

1. (Aus.) a pack; thus carry the drum, to be a swagman n.2 (1)

[Aus]C.H. Eden My Wife and I in Queensland 17: They all chaffed us about our swags, or donkeys, or drums, as a bundle of things wrapped in a blanket is indifferently called.
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 3 May 8/1: How long is it since you carried the drum, and who groomed your horse .
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Oct. 14/2: There he leisurely unshipped his ‘drum,’ and seated himself upon it before he deigned to give his order.
[NZ]N.Z. Graphic Dec. n.p.: Yes, I’m a swagger; I carry my drum down the middle of the road.
[Aus]J. Kirby Old Times in Bush 150: An’ what’s more he never took his drum off (his swag from off his back).
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 July 16/1: [T]he wife and family all had bluey up; the eldest lad, about 10, staggered under a drum fit for any old whaler.
[Aus]Dly Mercury (Mackay, Qld) 28 Apr. 6/1: Many Australian swagman carry the drum only in the summer months, which they spend camped on tfie river fishing and shooting.
[NZ] (ref. to 1890–1910) L.G.D. Acland Early Canterbury Runs (1951) 375: Drum – Swag.
[US]J. Greenway ‘Australian Cattle Lingo’ in AS XXXIII:3 164: bluey, drum, shiralee, n. A blanket roll, compactly tied and strapped to the back.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 69: drum [...] 2. A swag, rolled up in the shape of a drum for easier carrying; the swagman is a drummer. ANZ C19.

2. (US) any hat but a silk one.

[US]Cincinnati Enquirer 7 Sept. 10/7: Drum – Any other kind of hat [but silk], but generally spoken of ‘A straw drum,’ ‘A stiff drum,’ &c.

3. a tin or can in which tea etc. is made.

Derbys. Advertiser 2 Dec. 25/4: His ‘scran packet’ [...] contained [...] a ‘drum,’ a tin can for holding hot water or tea.
[UK]Lawrence & Skinner Boy in Bush 249: If he’s got a pack, it’s his swag. If he’s only got a blanket and a billy, it’s his bluey and drum.
[UK]E. Blair letter 4 Sept. in Complete Works X (1998) 228: The only reliable tin for a billy (known as a ‘drum’) is a snuff tin, preferably a 2 lb. one.
[UK]M. Marshall Tramp-Royal on the Toby 6: Taking my drum from my peter I dip it in a pool [...] and set it on the blaze.
[US]W.A. Gape Half a Million Tramps 134: Here, take my drum, and this ‘mashing’ [...] He handed me a tin. Inside it was a little screw of paper containing tea and sugar mixed.

4. (UK prison) a primitive and illicitly constructed cooking stove, using a small tin bowl, a basic adjustment lever and as a wick a hospital bandage, rubbed with mutton fat.

[Ire]J. Phelan Tramp at Anchor 67: I can still smell the stink of one of those ‘drums,’ as they were called.

In phrases

drum up

see separate entries.

hump one’s drum (v.) [hump v.1 (3d)]

to carry a pack.

W. Stamer Recollections of a Life of Adventure I 304: Our ci-devant millionaire [...] ‘humping his drum’, [would] start off for the diggings to seek more gold.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Mar. 9/2: A scrap of paper bearing these words:— ‘Hump your drum and clear’.
[UK]Daily Tel. 1 Jan. n.p.: Ladies whom I have met humping their own drums [F&H].
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Corny Bill’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 113: But he’d be gone at mornin’ light / A-humpin’ of his drum.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Songs They Used to Sing’ in Roderick (1972) 386: The chances will be that Sam Holt’s old mate ‘Will be humping his drum on the Hughenden Road’.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Romance of the Swag’ in Roderick (1972) 501: Travelling with the swag in Australia is variously and picturesquely described as ‘humping bluey’, ‘walking Matilda’, ‘humping Matilda’, ‘humping your drum’, ‘being on the wallaby’, ‘jabbing trotters’, and ‘tea and sugar burglaring’.
[Aus]Duke Tritton’s Letter n.p.: It is hard to believe that two years ago I was humpin’ the drum with you [and] spending all my Oscar Asche on Mud And Ooze, and two-up.
[Aus]E. Waltham Life and Labour in Aus. 22: Others [...] have wandered on the track – sundowning – and on the ‘wallaby’ have ‘humped their drum’.
[Aus]Western Mail (Perth) 12 Oct. 10/4: For carrying the swag he had many descriptive terms as humping bluey [and] humping the drum.
[Aus]Townsville Daily Bull. (Qld) 7 July 11: I was humpin’ me drum from, Sydney back to the country.
[Aus]Townsville Daily Bull. (Qld) 16 Aug. 7/4: To ‘hump one’s drum’ is to carry one’s blanket on the back as a large roll.