Alternately you can recycle an old tin and add a wire handle, like the one pictured here!
A billy does not have a lid!
Next, boil your water, by placing the billy straight onto your coals. Add a handful of black tea and a eucalyptus leaf, if available. Stir (traditionally with a gum tip stick) and allow to stand and draw. Pour with caution into mugs and add sugar and or milk to taste.
Always use something as an oven cloth to protect from being burnt by the hot metal billy!
Traditionally, billy tea would be drunk black and very sweet.
Billy tea would be the drink to start the long day of the stockmen and women, droving cattle, or the mainstay of Australia's legendary swagmen, or swaggies, as they are more commonly known, as depicted in our national song, with lyrics written by A B (Banjo) Patterson, 'Waltzing Matilda'.
Traditionally, those working and camping outdoors, where water was scarce, would drink a full litre of billy tea to hydrate themselves before starting their day.
Your billy will blacken in the coals and should only be rinsed out after use. Traditionally, billies are blackened by the coals, left that way and stored by hanging them, either on your person, pack, or in a shed.
It is the drink my dad used to make us regualrly at Beaufort Pony Club meets, as well as for lunch with a barbecue at our farm, or at places like the White Swan or Gong Gong reservoirs, and Daylesford's Jubilee Lake.
If you are brave, you can swing the billy three times over arm, but it is a bush myth, that this is necessary in the process of making billy tea. I would suggest you have very good first aid available if you intend trying to swing your billy tea, as scalds are the most painful of burns!
For absolute authenticity, it is the inclusion of the eucalyptus leaf, rather than the swinging of the billy, that makes billy tea so distinctive!