Saturday, January 17, 2009

And the dog sits on the Tuckerbox five miles from Gundagai..

If you are traveling down the 900 kilometer Hume Highway between Sydney and Melbourne, at about halfway (near Gundagai) you will come across one of Australia's icons - The Dog on the Tuckerbox.

"What's a tuckerbox?" do I hear you ask? Tucker is an Australian word for food.

"He's off his tucker" for example means that he is not eating and may be sick. "Get into your tucker" is an invitation to start eating (almost a cheeky form of saying grace). The tucker box was a box in which the travelling pioneers used to hold the important items of food like salt and flour.

The statue of the dog guarding the box for his master was erected as a pioneer memorial. It was unveiled in 1932 by the then Prime Minister of Australia Joseph Lyons.

The statue itself had been made by Gundagai's stone mason, Frank Rusconi.

The dog gained its icon status through poems and songs that were repeated around the camp fires of the early travellers.

Trevor Lucas sang one of them....

I'm used to punchin' bullock teams across the hills and plains.
I've teamed outback for forty years through bleedin' hail and rain.
I've lived a lot of troubles down, without a bloomin' lie,
But I can't forget what happened just five miles from Gundagai.

'Twas getting dark, the team got bored, the axle snapped in two.
I lost me matches and me pipe, so what was I to do?
The rain it was coming on, and hungry too was I,

And me dog shat in me tucker-box five miles from Gundagai.

Some blokes I know have stacks of luck, no matter where they fall,
But there was I, Lord love a duck, no bloody luck at all.
I couldn't heat a pot of tea or keep me trousers dry,
And me dog shat in me tucker-box five miles from Gundagai.

Now, I can forgive the bleedin' team, I can forgive the rain.

I can forgive the damp and cold and go through it again.

I can forgive the rotten luck, but 'ang me till I die,

I can't forgive that bloody dog, five miles from Gundagai.

This dray is near where the dog on the tuckerbox sits and I had my photo taken on it when I was nine years old. Three years ago I had my pic taken with it again... but I haven't got that particular pic in my puter...


  1. I can't read this mauve script on a very dull background ----- some of your viewers are as elderly as the Dog remember! Please learn to design an attractive (and legible web page)

  2. Sorry Colin!

    I guess it's because I change the theme every now and then and didn't realize I needed to go right back through to make sure the font was the right color.