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Tuck shop is the Australian term for the place in a primary school where food and drinks can be purchased.

Origin is the Aussie word tucker, meaning food. As in, Jeez, mate, that was good tucker.

The worker in the tuck shop, invariably some kid's mother, is known as the tuck shop lady.

Tuck shop is also the place some residential camps provide for their campers, and staff, to buy food and drinks, and other things not available in the woods.

The best tuck shop I remember was at Camp On-da-da-waks on Golden Lake, Ontario.

Campers only had access to it during certain, restricted, days and hours. But the staff, including the junior staff (I was a counsellor-in-training that summer) could buy stuff every night after the campers were in bed, as long as you weren't on night patrol.

This tuck shop did a booming business in hamburgers and milkshakes, in addition to the usual chocolate bars and lifesavers. I'm sure the camp made almost as much from tucker as it did from fees.

Don't ask me how an Aussie term came to Canada, but this has always been the word as long as I can remember.

A memory much preferred to that of the Golden Lake Itch.

This is largely conjecture, but the etymology of this phrase is most likely related to the phrase "tuck in", meaning to eat with relish (not the hamburger kind). Given that both Canadians and Australians are largely descended from British settlers, it seems likely that the word is originally English. Its use is not confined to Scotland, and tuck shops are a regular feature in comics such as the Beano and Famous Five books, which have their roots firmly in 50s British culture.

At my secondary school (equivelant to US high school) the tuck shop was run by volunteer third year (~14 year old) pupils.

The term 'tuck shop' is not used Australia-wide. Attending primary school in Orange, New South Wales in the early 1980s, the place where one purchased one's lunch at school was the 'canteen', and the attendant mother was referred to as the 'canteen lady'.

It was only upon moving to Townsville, Queensland in 1985 that I encountered the word 'tuck shop', although it was a single word - 'tuckshop'. Indeed, the staff of mothers were referred to as 'tuckshop ladies'.

In my limited experience, high school tuckshops in north Queensland offer a completely different menu to that offered by primary schools. Gone were the 'healthy' options - carrot sticks, moon craters, frozen orange wedges. Instead, one could buy (gasp) Coca Cola and a hot dog for lunch, to be followed by a packet of Samboy salt and vinegar chips and a Funny Face.

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