Dog on the Tuckerbox
The Dog on the Tuckerbox is an Australian historical monument and tourist attraction, located at Snake Gully, five miles (8 km) from Gundagai, New South Wales. The dog section of the monument was cast in bronze by 'Oliver's Foundry' Sydney and its base sculpted by Gundagai stonemason Frank Rusconi. It was unveiled by the then Prime Minister of Australia Joseph Lyons on 28 November 1932 as a tribute to pioneers. The statue was inspired by a bullock driver's poem, Bullocky Bill, which celebrates the life of an allegorical driver's dog that loyally guarded the man's tuckerbox (Australian slang for lunch box) until death.
A dog monument had been first erected at a site nine miles from Gundagai in 1926.
Bullocky Bill was written by an otherwise unknown poet who used the pen name "Bowyang Yorke" and first printed in 1857. A later poem by Jack Moses drew on the Bowyang Yorke poem for inspiration and was published in the 1920s.
The latter poem was very popular and was the inspiration for the statue. Moses's poem, Nine Miles from Gundagai, was first published in 1938, several years after the statue's unveiling. Jack O'Hagan's song, Where the Dog Sits on the Tuckerbox (5 miles from Gundagai), was published in 1937.
Frank Rusconi had suggested a memorial using the legend of the Dog on the Tuckerbox in 1928. However, in 1932 the proposal was taken up by the community. The Gundagai Independent of 11 August 1932 wrote:
A Monument should be erected at the Nine Mile peg dedicated to the pioneers and bullockies, who made the highway of today possible. And there should be an unveiling ceremony during 'Back to Gundagai Week'.
The Dog on the Tuckerbox monument was erected as part of 'Back to Gundagai' Week in 1932 and a large crowd "gathered to her again" to witness the unveiling by the Prime Minister. It was planned to donate money placed in the wishing well at the base of the monument to the Gundagai District Hospital. A souvenir shop was also opened nearby.
The Back to Gundagai Committee had chosen the Five Mile camping site rather than the Nine Mile Peg as a location for the monument on the basis that it was more convenient to the Hume Highway and closer to the town, thereby more beneficial to tourism.
A nationwide competition was held to obtain the most suitable inscription for the monument. The chosen inscription on the base of the monument was written by Brian Fitzpatrick of Sydney. The inscription says:
- Earth's self upholds this monument
- To conquerors who won her,
- When wooing was dangerous
- And now are gathered unto her again.
An annual Dog on the Tuckerbox festival has been held each year since 1992, the 60th anniversary of the monument. In November 2005, the Annual Festival included a 2 day Snake Gully Cup Racing Carnival and festivities at the Dog on the Tuckerbox centre.
- Butcher, C., 2002, Gundagai: A Track Winding Back' A.C. Butcher, Gundagai, pp 212-213
- Scarff, L (1994). The Dog on the Tuckerbox: its story. Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, NSW. 0864176279
- Daniel, Frank. "History of the Dog on the Tuckerbox". Jack Moses poetry; Master poets. Bushpoetry.com.au. Retrieved 2006-11-17.
- Butcher, C., (2002) Gundagai: A Track Winding Back, C. Butcher, publisher, pp 212-213.
- Butcher, page 228
- Gundagai Shire Council: Dog on The Tuckerbox Festival
- The Dog on the Tuckerbox "Knowledge Site" including all relevant history, Old Photos, who made The Dog on the Tuckerbox, newspaper clippings and information about the local area...Gundagai and surrounds
- The Dog on the Tuckerbox information site including information on the Tourist Centre and Café at the site of the statue.
- Dog on the Tuckerbox tribute page including the two poems that inspired the monument, and photo of Prime Minister Joe Lyons unveiling the Dog in 1932.