Dog on the Tuckerbox

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Coordinates: 35°00′01.84″S 148°06′39.97″E / 35.0005111°S 148.1111028°E / -35.0005111; 148.1111028

The Dog on the Tuckerbox
The earlier monument photographed in 1926
Bullock team at the unveiling of the monument in 1932

The Dog on the Tuckerbox is an Australian historical monument and tourist attraction, located at Snake Gully, approximately five miles (eight kilometres) from Gundagai, New South Wales as described in the song of the same name.[1][2]

Cultural origin[edit]

The inspiration for the statue has been traced to a doggerel poem, "Bullocky Bill", published anonymously by "Bowyang Yorke" in 1857 (other references have 1880 in the Gundagai Times, however confirmation of either is hard to find), which humourously describes a series of misfortunes faced by a bullock driver, culminating in his dog either sitting on or spoiling the food in his tucker-box (an Australian colloquialism for a box that holds food, similar to a lunchbox, but larger).[1][2][3]

BILL THE BULLOCKY
(By "Bowyang York").
As I was coming down Conroy's Gap
I heard a maiden cry:
"There goes Bill the Bullocky,
He's bound for Gundagai.
A better poor old ———
Never cracked an honest crust;
A tougher poor old ———
Never drug a whip through dust.
"His team got bogged at the five mile creek,
Bill lashed and swore and cried,
'If Nobby don't get me out of this
I'll tattoo his ——— hide.'
But Nobby strained and broke his yoke,
And poked out the leader's eye;
And the dog sat in the tucker box
Five miles from Gundagai."[4]

A later and more accomplished[5] poem by Jack Moses referenced the Bowyang Yorke poem and was published in the 1920s.[3] This poem was very popular and was the inspiration for the statue.[6] Jack O'Hagan's song, "Where the Dog Sits on the Tuckerbox (5 miles from Gundagai)", was published in 1937, and Moses' poem was included in his collection Nine Miles from Gundagai, published in 1938.[5]

The monument[edit]

A dog monument was first erected at a site nine miles from Gundagai in 1926.[7]

Gundagai stonemason Frank Rusconi suggested a memorial using the legend of the Dog on the Tuckerbox in 1928; and 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 bullockys, who made the highway of to-day posible [sic], and there should be an unveiling ceremony during "Back to Gundagai Week".[4]

The Back to Gundagai Committee chose 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.[6]

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.[6] 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."[8]

The dog section of the monument was modelled by Rusconi[9] and cast at 'Oliver's Foundry' in Sydney. Rusconi also sculpted its base.[10]

The Dog on the Tuckerbox monument was erected in 1932 as part of 'Back to Gundagai' week, and a large crowd "gathered to her again" to witness the unveiling by Prime Minister Joseph Lyons on 28 November 1932. It was planned to donate money placed in the wishing well at the base of the monument to the Gundagai District Hospital.[citation needed] A souvenir shop was also opened nearby. Copyright on the monument was vested in the Gundagai Hospital, who for many years received a useful income from receipt of royalties from firms using the iconic image.[11]

Later history[edit]

A "Dog on the Tuckerbox" festival has been held each year since 1992, the 60th anniversary of the monument.[12] In November 2005, the annual festival included a two-day Snake Gully Cup Racing Carnival and festivities at the Dog on the Tuckerbox Centre.[13]

The statue was vandalised on 28 July 2019 by being dislodged from its plinth, suffering minor damage,[14][15] and had its grand re-unveiling on 17 August 2019 following repairs.[16]

A more deliberate piece of vandalism was perpetrated a few months after its unveiling, when the name of Prime Minister Lyons was chiselled away from the base of the monument, presumably as a political act. Rusconi reported that the only proper repair was to take the marble slab away to be reworked.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Dog on The Tuckerbox - Australia abloveridge.com
  2. ^ a b In another version, the song is known as "Nine Miles from Gundagai" AUSTRALIAN SONGS Nine Miles From Gundagai
  3. ^ a b Daniel, Frank. "History of the Dog on the Tuckerbox". Jack Moses poetry; Master poets. Bushpoetry.com.au. Archived from the original on 5 October 2006. Retrieved 17 November 2006.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  4. ^ a b "The Emblem of Our Big Week". The Gundagai Independent (3156). New South Wales, Australia. 11 August 1932. p. 2. Retrieved 5 October 2019 – via National Library of Australia. This reference mentions verse above is part of a longer work, and accentuates the variant "in the tuckerbox" with a humorous graphic.
  5. ^ a b William H. Wilde; Joy Hooton; Barry Andrews (1994). The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature. Oxford University Press. pp. 333, 550. ISBN 019553381-X.
  6. ^ a b c Butcher, C., (2002) Gundagai: A Track Winding Back, C. Butcher, publisher, pp 212-213.
  7. ^ Scarff, L (1994). The Dog on the Tuckerbox: its story. Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, NSW. 0864176279
  8. ^ "Gundagai's Dog Is Gilt-Edged Investment". Smith's Weekly. XIX (22). New South Wales, Australia. 31 July 1937. p. 13. Retrieved 4 October 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ Joan Kerr; photo: Jeff Carter (1928–2010). "The Dog on the Tuckerbox". abloveridge.com. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  10. ^ Butcher, C., 2002, Gundagai: A Track Winding Back' A.C. Butcher, Gundagai, pp 212-213
  11. ^ "The Pioneers' Memorial". The Tumut and Adelong Times. 78 (34). New South Wales, Australia. 20 September 1938. p. 4. Retrieved 21 September 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ Butcher, page 228
  13. ^ "Gundagai Shire Council: Dog on The Tuckerbox Festival". Archived from the original on 19 August 2006.
  14. ^ "'Gundagai's mourning, Gundagai's in shock' after cherished Dog on Tuckerbox statue vandalised". ABC News (Australia).
  15. ^ "Man hands himself in for allegedly vandalising dog on the tuckerbox". The Land.
  16. ^ "Dog on the Tuckerbox: Careful treatment for a national treasure". The Canberra Times.
  17. ^ "Maniac's Mad Act Mutilates Monument". The Gundagai Independent (3026). New South Wales, Australia. 9 February 1933. p. 5. Retrieved 21 September 2019 – via National Library of Australia.

External links[edit]