This item (tobacco plug, as it was referred to) was used as a smokeless digestion of nicotine from the tobacco leaf. It was harvested by the tobacco growers before tailor made cigarettes became available. It was mainly regarded as more of a male item as it required to expectorate unwanted mouth juices. Ladies rarely used chewing tobacco. Most hotels and drinking rooms (men only in this era) had special spittoons to catch the waste.
This item was used at a time when it was socially acceptable to chew tobacco (1800s to early 1900s).
The associated health problems (lung and other related cancers including emphysema) eventually became the social and political incentive to curb the tobacco industry in the Kiewa Valley. Harvesting tobacco also had extreme risks such as "Green Tobacco " sickness. In Victoria the economical viability of the tobacco industry was extinguished in 2006. The tobacco drying sheds are still standing in the Kiewa Valley and in nearby regions. This item was also used by miners underground retrieving gold.This work environment was strictly a non smoke one.
Square (small corner cut off) of compressed tobacco leaves, brown in colour and dried. Known at the time of use as a Plug.