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Dog on the Tucker Box in Gundagai – and Marks & Spencer…

2020 December 10

Dog on the Tucker Box,
Gundagai, New South Wales, Australia

Sometimes it’s odd looking at statues in different ways. I tend to see them in open spaces or museums and often take photographs. Some years ago I did this in Gundagai, New South Wales,Australia. The statue was called ‘Dog on the Tucker Box’. it was not built about a real animal. It consisted of a small bronze statue of a solitary dog fixed to a stone base erected over a wishing pool. At the bottom was mounted a plaque with verse composed, and a plaque recording its unveiling in: 1932. Even though the dog never existed, it was well-known from at least the nineteenth century, through stories and poems,as :
But Nobby strained and broke his yoke,
And poked out the leader’s eye;
And the dog sat in the tucker box
Five miles from Gundagai.”

Yarri’s monument also in Gundagai

Although a recent article described the dog as ‘one of Australia’s most successful purpose-built tourist attractions’ it forgot to note the local commemorations to Yarri (and Jackey Jackey) . These Aboriginal men rescued c. forty nine white people from the massively swollen and dangerous waters of the Murrumbidgee River. In recent years a concrete bridge was named after him and a new monument was erected in North Gundagai cemetery since this had been ‘in the memory of Gundagai people for generations’

I’ve never previously seen a visual image of even the Dog on the Tucker Box in Britain until a few weeks ago. In Marks and Spencer sat bottles of white wine, pinot grigio and chardonnay, apparently from Paul Sapin, a French firm, but originally from Australia.As an Australian public historian advised me this did not appear on bottles sold over there…
How this is a focus on Gundagai seems beyond me since few Australians -and even fewer Brit tourists – went to the site even several years ago. Perhaps it’s just part of the pandemic situation in which we see things in rather different ways…

Dog on the Tucker Box – in Bexhill M&S 2020…

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