HUMPIES AND GUMSUCKERS
The Reid brothers were among the first to open land at Alcomie, which was then a sea of myrtle, sassafras and blackwood trees that it was possible to walk for long distance on fallen trees and fern without putting a foot to the ground.
As the road was extended beyond Irishtown, these early pioneers of Alcomie constructed strongly built humpy at the end of the road. In this, these settlers could change their clothes before completing the rest of the journey home on foot. The humpy also served as a depot for goods brought by cart. As the road went forward, the humpy went with it. 
Many of the settlers of Alcomie and adjacent districts would remain in their bush camps for months on end, their only visitor being the lad with a packhorse who brought in supplies. Goods for more distant camps were left at some central point, such as a humpy.
The photograph above depicts a typical structure that can be described as a humpy. It was taken in 1880 in what is now the centre of Zeehan. The bearded figure to the left is Will Walker.
I recently came across the word, gum sucker, in a 1927 newspaper article written by Richard Hilder, locally known as an authority on the early history of northwestern Tasmania. He referred to gum suckers as native born white children. However, elsewhere, most dictionaries refer to gum sucker as a person native to Victoria.
This prompted me to search for the earliest mention of this unusual expression and lo and behold an article described a young lad of 12 as a “smartish specimen of the genus gum-sucker.” This article appeared in a Tasmanian newspaper dated 7 June 1849.
Does anyone know of an earlier mention of this wonderful Aussie slang?
 Circular Head Chronicle 2 May 1951 page 3
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