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Australian History

November 28, 1932 – The ‘Dog on the Tuckerbox’ statue at Gundagai is unveiled


The Dog on the Tuckerbox

The Dog on the Tuckerbox

The “Dog on the Tuckerbox” is an historical monument situated in southern New South Wales, Australia.

Celebrated in Australian folklore, poetry, and song as being either five or nine miles from Gundagai, the Dog on the Tuckerbox sits approximately 5 miles, or eight kilometres, from Gundagai.

Gundagai’s Dog on the Tuckerbox originated out of an incident from the mid-1800s, when some travellers’ bullock carts became stuck in the mud near Gundagai.

The bullockies were unable to free their carts, and everything ended up coated in mud.

The romanticised version of the story goes that the bullocky departed for help, and the dog stayed to faithfully guard his master’s tuckerbox (food box).

However, the reality is that the dog was in fact relieving itself directly above the tuckerbox, which was the only thing not submerged by the mud.

The story was originally captured by an unknown poet writing under the pseudonym of Bowyang Yorke and published in the Gundagai Times in the 1880s.

A later version was written by Gundagai journalist and poet Jack Moses. The tale was then popularised in 1937 in the song “Where the Dog Sits on the Tuckerbox” by Australian songwriter Jack O’Hagan who also wrote “Along the Road to Gundagai” and “When a Boy from Alabama Meets a Girl from Gundagai”. Ironically, O’Hagan never visited Gundagai himself.

The statue of the Dog on the Tuckerbox was created by Gundagai stonemason Frank Rusconi, and unveiled on 28 November 1932, by Joseph Lyons, then Prime Minister of Australia. The unveiling occurred on the 103rd anniversary of explorer Charles Sturt’s crossing of the Murrumbidgee River at the place where Gundagai now stands.

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

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