Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


The dog that became a legendThe dog that became a legend

The Dog on the Tuckerbox: national icon, faithful friend or romanticised larrikin?

Story Freda Nicholls Photos John Elliot

Ask any Australian and you'll hear a variety of stories - some humorous, some sad, and some just plain entertaining - about 'The Dog', as he is affectionately known. Regardless, he has had a chequered 70-odd years. He's a tribute to pioneers, he's been sung about, argued over and is seen in every serious tourist's photo album. Who could believe that what started as a project to save the local hospital would hold such a remarkable place in our folklore?

The story of the statue begins in 1932, a hard time in Australia. The Depression was starting to ease but its effects were still felt. Gundagai, NSW, was in danger of losing its hospital, which was more than 2000 pounds in debt, a huge sum at the time. One enterprising member of the board, Mr O.A.Collins, came up with an idea. Collins had travelled extensively after being discharged following the First World War and had seen how some countries capitalised on their local assets to attract tourists and raise funds.Story end

Full story Issue 31 Oct/Nov 2003

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