The cherished Dog on the Tuckerbox statue, near Gundagai in New South Wales’ Riverina region, has been knocked from its sandstone pedestal in an attack the local mayor has called a “senseless bit of vandalism”.
The bronze statue at Gundagai was inspired by an 1850s poem about the bullock trains that traversed regional NSW.
It commemorates the early settlers and was immortalised in Jack O’Hagan’s song Along the Road to Gundagai.
The Cootamundra-Gundagai Mayor Abb McAlister said the statue was an important part of the community.
“It’s iconic, that dog, and the wishing well there,” Mr McAlister said.
“It’s iconic to the Australian history – not only just Gundagai.
“So when something happens like this it really makes you sick in the stomach.
“When I found out this morning I was very angry.”
The dog was missing an ear and knocked from its platform into the wishing-well fountain pool below.
An ‘insult to the whole town’
Jenny Allnutt runs the adjacent Dog on the Tucker Box Souvenir Shop.
She said it brought thousands of tourists to the region.
“It is hugely important. It is the image of Gundagai all around the world, so it’s really a huge insult to the whole town, to the whole community, as well to all of us who work out here,” Ms Allnutt said.
She said a new tenant was taking over the lease of the souvenir shop on August 10 and hoped the dog could be repaired before then.
“Gundagai’s mourning. Gundagai’s in shock,” Ms Allnutt said.
“We certainly hope that the culprits can be found and suitably punished, but the dog will rise again.
“The dog will stand proud on its plinth again.”
NSW Police said they were seeking a man and a woman who are alleged to have toppled the statue and forced it into the wishing well below at 4pm on Saturday.
It is alleged they left the scene in a black Hyundai Santa Fe.
The dog’s missing ear has been recovered for reattachment.