First stop on our trip along the Murray River. Gundagai happens to be about halfway from Sydney to our starting point on the along the Murray. We stayed at the Riverside Caravan Park, which was actually quite busy but still peaceful.
The river gums are typical of the scenery in the area.
The old road bridge over the flood plain has seen much better days.
Established in the 1820s Gundagai’s claim to fame is the Dog on the Tuckerbox which is actually about 8kms north. Before the Hume Highway (connects Sydney and Melbourne) improvements the road went right past it but now you need to turn off to see the DOTT.
Gundagai was established on the flood plain of the Murrumbidgee River, despite repeated warnings by the Wiradjuri people of the risk of large floods to the low-lying alluvial flats. As a result on the night of June 24, 1852 the flooded Murrumbidgee raged through the small township, drowning more than one third of the 250 inhabitants and an unknown number of travellers, and destroying 71 buildings.
What would the locals know?
The heroic actions of a number of Wiradjuri men saved many lives. The medallions presented to these heroes were lost for many years but are now proudly on display in the Gundagai Museum. The town was rebuilt on the northern and southern slopes of the floodplain.
Bushrangers were prevalent in the area in the 1830-1860s. Captain Moonlight (Andrew George Scott) is buried in the town’s cemetery.
Back to the DOTT, an internationally recognised Australian icon. The legend of the Dog began in the 1850s with a poem Bullocky Bill by an otherwise unknown author ‘Bowyang Yorke’, about the partnership of the bullockies who opened up the land to settlers, and the dogs who accompanied them and guarded their possessions. A version amended by Jack Moses captured the imagination of Australians both in the bush and throughout the colonies in the early 1900s. The move to create a monument to the early pioneers, featuring the now famous Dog, grew through the 1920s, culminating in the unveiling of the Dog on the Tucker Box statue on 28 November 1932. The legend was then immortalised in popular song by Jack O’Hagan, author of Along the Road to Gundagai, with Where the Dog Sits on the Tucker Box. The Dog and its many songs and poems have put Gundagai firmly on the world map (so they say in Gundagai).
Today, the Dog on the Tucker Box Pioneer Monument welcomes visitors with lots of typical touristy things as well as a place for special events benefitting a range of charities throughout the year, culminating in the Dog’s Birthday each November.