The True Story of Gundagai’s Dog on the Tuckerbox

Tourists, Truth, and the Insouciance of Souvenirs

in Volume 17 (2016): Issue 2 (Dec 2016): A Journey to Australia. Guest Editor: Helen Bones

Gundagai’s statue of the Dog on the Tuckerbox, about half way between Melbourne and Sydney, was arguably Australia’s most popular purpose-built tourist attraction for half a century from its unveiling in 1932. This article uses the monument as a case study to consider the ways in which the past is visualized as it is turned into tourism. In what has been called the “circle of representation,” tourists’ understandings of the places they visit are shaped by the preconceptions created by pre-existing media representations through art, postcards, photography, posters, tourist brochures, souvenirs, and so on. In the case of the Dog on the Tuckerbox, the expurgated language of souvenirs, as they multiplied through the twentieth century, came to displace oral dissemination of earlier more vulgar meanings attached to the original story that was the inspiration for the monument.