The “senseless” vandalising of Gundagai’s famous Dog on the Tuckerbox has prompted a possible security upgrade for the much-loved monument.
The bronze statue at Snake Gully on the edge of the NSW Riverina town was toppled from its base on Sunday afternoon.
The well-known tourist attraction, erected in 1932 as a memorial to Australian pioneers, ended up on its side in the wishing pond which encircles the stone plinth.
The dog’s ear was broken off and its nose was damaged.
The Dog on the Tuckerbox is “part of the family” in Gundagai, local mayor Abb McAlister said on Monday.
“He’s a mate, so it really hit home hard here. No one likes to see that happen to an Australian icon.
“It’s a shame that people do that sort of thing. It’s just senseless vandalism.”
The statute was Inspired by the poem Bullocky Bill which pays tribute to a fictional bullock driver’s dog who loyally guarded his master’s tuckerbox until death.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for CCTV to monitor the statue.
“Help us install CCTV and keep this Aussie icon safe, stop the vandalism and protect this loyal dog from further harm so he’s around for many years to come, for the locals and the travellers,” organiser Shell Bell wrote on the fundraiser page.
By Monday afternoon $1255 had been raised towards the $5000 goal.
Mr McAlister said he was certain council would consider the cameras.
“That’s probably one of the main security bits and pieces that we will have there,” he said.
“I’d prefer to see that – if you can protect him like that rather than putting a fence around him.”
Local council workers drained the pond and recovered the statue on Monday afternoon.
It will be sent to repair the ear and nose.
“We’ll get him out and shipped away to be fixed as quick as we can and get him back on his tuckerbox where he should be,” Mr McAlister said.
Police on Monday released images of a man and a woman they wanted to speak to.
A 28-year-old Wagga Wagga man later handed himself in and was charged with damaging property. He was granted bail to appear in court in mid-September.
Almost 40 years ago the statue was ‘dognapped’ by students from the Australian National University in Canberra but “they took great care of him” and brought him back the next day, Mr McAlister said.