Tag Archives: tuckerbox

A Dog sitting on a Tuckerbox

On a road trip from Melbourne to Sydney in the Christmas holidays of 1957 we passed by this monument 5 miles from the town of Gundagai which is on the Murrumbidgee River in New South Wales.

The Dog on the Tuckerbox five miles from Gundgai

The Dog on the Tuckerbox five miles from Gundgai

Originally set up in 1932 as a money raiser for the Gundagai hospital and as a memorial to the European pioneers who settled the district, it shows a typical working dog sitting on his master’s tuckerbox, a box for storing food supplies. This faithful dog would guard the  tuckerbox until his master returned, no matter how long it took. The idea was based on a song about Bullocky Bill which had been around since the 1850s and ended with.

     And the dog sat on the tuckerbox nine miles from Gundagai.

Then in 1922 Jack O’Hagan came out with the song The Road to Gundagai which doesn’t actually mention a distance..  Since the original song about Bullocky Bill there have been many incarnations of the story in song, and with different distances,so there was plenty of motivation for Gundagai to build its own dog on a tuckerbox.

But as well as its original intention to be a tribute to Gundagai the monument  has acquired an aura all of its own  It can be regarded as  a national icon and  just like that loyal dog it represents all people  who stand and wait for for the return of those who are away from home, whether it be peacetime or wartime.

1932 tuckerbox dogThere were no railings around the monument in the early days as this photo from the Gundagai Shire Council shows us.

But now there is a nearby Food Court with KFC, Subway, McCafe, BP service station and Tuckerbox restaurant.  How  tacky  !!!!!

So to deviate a little, what did a tourist do in Sydney in 1957,  a Sydney which was yet to get its landmark Opera House ?  To begin with there is the Sydney Harbour Bridge.   Here is our tan Chevrolet – Chevie – Chev at the base of the Bridge, the same bridge where Paul Hogan used to work as a painter before other interests took over.

The tan coloured chevie at the base of the Syndey Harbour Bridge

The tan coloured chevie at the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

  • At that time it was illegal to climb the Bridge but there was a cattery of beautiful white cats to be patted at the top of the bridge pylon. as in the slide show below.
  • From the top of the pylon you could watch the liner Oronsay passing underneath.
  • And there was time to sit on part of the prow of the original HMAS Sydney, built into a wall under the Bridge.  It was launched in 1911 and de-commissioned in 1928.  It saw service in World War I.
  • There were friends to enjoy time with on Bondi Beach
  • And a surf carnival to visit at North Steyne
  • Finally a peep in the gates of Kirribilli House, the residence of the Prime Minister when visiting Sydney

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So, would you like to do some listening ?  Here is Peter Dawson  (1882 – 1961), Australia’s own bass baritone  singing  Along the Road to Gundagai in 1931.

Or if you prefer a more  country music rendition  then  listen to Slim Dusty  singing the chorus from   The Road to Gundagai.

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You might even be brave and listen to both.

Words and Lyrics by Jack O’Hagan, 1922 – Along the Road to Gundagai

There’s a scene that lingers in my memory –
Of an old bush home and friends I long to see –
That’s why I am yearning
Just to be returning
Along the road to Gundagai –

There’s a track winding back
To an old-fashioned shack
Along the road to Gundagai –
Where the blue gums are growing
And the Murrumbidgee’s flowing
Beneath that sunny sky –
Where my daddy and mother
Are waiting for me
And the pals of my childhood
Once more I will see.
Then no more will I roam,
When I’m heading right for home
Along the road to Gundagai.

When I get back there I’ll be a kid again –
Oh! I’ll never have a thought of grief or pain –
Once more I’ll be playing
Where the gums are swaying
Along the road to Gundagai –

This post has been a contribution to Sepia Saturday for it’s theme of Monuments..  There are many other monuments to visit from other contributors by following the links on Sepia Saturday.

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