""...and the dog shat on the tuckerbox..."" Top 5 Page for this destination Gundagai by iandsmith

Gundagai Travel Guide: 83 reviews and 287 photos

More than a myth

The 'Dog on the Tuckerbox' is a legendary bronze sculpture located out the front of a restaurant and gift-shop complex eight kilometres north of the town of Gundagai (south west of Sydney) on the western side of the Hume Highway, the main route to Melbourne.
The Dog On The Tuckerbox first emerged into Australian folklore through an anonymous teamster's song of uncertain date. A version of the song appeared in the Gundagai Times in the 1880s in the form of a poem called 'Bullocky Bill' which focuses on a hardy, stoic and unlucky teamster, noted for their colourful language, who gets bogged at Five Mile Creek (a teamsters' meeting place five miles from Gundagai). The yoke of his bullock team breaks and, to make matters worse, 'the dog shat on the tucker-box/ Five miles from Gundagai'. Salesman and balladeer Jack Moses wrote a cleaned-up version in the 1920s in which the dog sits on and guards the tuckerbox. For unknown reasons he called it 'Nine Miles from Gundagai'. The lyric was very popular and inspired the commission of the sculpture for the 1932 'Back to Gundagai' celebrations. It was made by Frank Rusconi (see Rusconi's masterpiece elsewhere) and unveiled by Prime Minister Joe Lyons.
In the park outside the complex is a tribute in copper to Steele Rudd's famous Snake Gully characters - Dad, Dave, Mum and Mabel (in Rudd's stories, Snake Gully is on the Darling Downs in Queensland).
Rudd's stories centre on the trials and tribulations of a rural family with traditional traits of loyalty, battling against all odds and conservatism with small "c". A series of early Australian films were based on these tales and they became the basis of a very popular radio serial which was introduced by the song 'Along the Road to Gundagai'. Just start singing "There's a track winding back to an old fashioned shack" to an Aussie and you should get a response. Nearby are the ruins of the old Five Mile Pub.
This simple statue singularly put Gundagai on the map and now I have put it on the VT map.

  • Last visit to Gundagai: Oct 2003
  • Intro Written Nov 1, 2003
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Reviews (8)

Comments (4)

  • wabat's Profile Photo
    Sep 30, 2014 at 4:11 AM

    Great information as usual Ian. Passing this way latter in the week, hopefully this time Ill have time to stop in!

  • Kate-Me's Profile Photo
    Mar 13, 2005 at 8:55 PM

    Love all the history detail! Drove through Gundagai the other day and couldn't remember the whole story. Greetings from Kate since I haven't dropped by in a while.

  • knerten's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2004 at 4:35 PM

    I did the Hume Highway from Melbourne to Sidney recently, and my guide (an Australian friend) took me to the Gundagai Bridge, which he remembered crossing every so often as a child. Indeed an amazing structure!

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Jul 11, 2004 at 2:19 PM

    Oh I am so glad you got it right. But I always heard it was the dog shat in the tuckerbox. Who would care if the dog just sat on the tuckerbox? Nobody. (Actually, I would like to see a statue of the dog doing exactly what he did do.)


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