Dog on the Tuckerbox

On our recent Sydney Road Trip adventure, we made the drive from Melbourne to Sydney. One of our favourite rest stops about halfway along, is five miles from Gundagai. There sits the Dog on the Tuckerbox, an Australian icon. The Dog on the Tuckerbox is a statue 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. It was unveiled by the then Prime Minister of Australia Joseph Lyons on 28 November 1932 as a tribute to pioneers and has become a well known landmark since.

The origins of the Dog on the Tuckerbox tale, are still a bit of a mystery and unfortunately no definitive copies of the original version survive today. The poem Bullocky Bill by an otherwise unknown author ‘Bowyang Yorke’ cleaned up the original version of the tuckerbox story, consisting of a dog doing something else in the tuckerbox (an action that rhymes with sat!). The clean version was printed in the local newspaper in 1859 about the partnership of the bullockies who opened up the land to settlers, and the dogs who accompanied them and guarded their possessions.

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 beggar
Never earnt an honest crust,
A better poor old beggar
Never drug a whip through dust.’
His team got bogged at the nine mile creek,
Bill lashed and swore and cried;
‘If Nobby don’t get me out of this,
I’ll tattoo his bloody hide.’
But Nobby strained and broke the yoke,
And poked out the leader’s eye;
Then the dog sat on the Tucker Box
Nine miles from Gundagai.

The bronze statue sits and faithfully remains a symbol of the early pioneers working in the Australian bush, even Kate couldn’t resist a look!

One Comment

  • Avatar Karen says:

    Oh look at Kate – such a good girl trying to stay still for the pic, but not being able to resist the temptation to look at that Tuckerbox! Dan just gave the Tuckerbox dog a scratch on the head a few days ago on our road trip!

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