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Gundagai district family teach the Tuckerbox Dog new tricks

September 19, 2007
Gundagai district family teach the Tuckerbox Dog new tricks

The Dog gets back on the Tuckerbox, near Gundagai, today when brothers Anthony and Peter Herring reopen the icon cafe just off the Hume Highway.

Teacher Anthony, his wife Joanne and brother Peter and his lady Cindy are supported by family and friends as they put the famous Five Mile stop near Gundagai back in business.

Despite a long period in limbo The Dog and the Tuckerbox statue has never lost its landmark status for travellers heading north for Canberra and Sydney and south for Albury/Wodonga and Melbourne on the boring stretches of the Hume Hwy run.

We called on Saturday bound north on one of our regular business trips on the Hume to our Canberra head office in Fyshwick and found the Herrings hard at it as they got an education in making coffee Melbourne-style.

They were also into the trick of hot chocolate - with a twist.

As yet their skills have not reached the point of producing a Tuckerbox Dog image in the coffees creaming top, but they are working on it.

There are nine staff involved in putting the Dog back on the Box from a family which has been part of the district for more than 40 years.

Anthony and Peter said their dad Barry brought the family down from Tumut back then.

As long -term locals they were not happy about the Tuckerbox closing -

We were disappointed to see the Tuckerbox, its cafe and the picnic area and walks closed, but we noted that people just kept coming anyway so we decided to give it a go, Anthony and Peter said.

The Tuckerbox park has a good atmosphere and there is a bit of humor too. There is even a Doggy Loo, he said.

Which raises the legend of Bullocky Bill and his Tuckerbox Dog. It seems that poor Bill got his wagon badly bogged in the Five Mile Creek near Gundagai.

Anthony and Peter Herring and team learn how to make Melbourne coffee
Anthony and Peter Herring and team learn how to make Melbourne coffee

There is a verse about the incident which suggests that in addition to busting a bullock yoke which knocked an eye out of one of Bill's beasts Bill's misfortunes include the dog which sat or s(h)at on the tuckerbox. It of course depends on who you chose to believe.

Local homourists had a field day at Bills expense and so another bush legend of Australia was born.

For caravanners, motorhomes, campers, campervans, Recreational Vehicles (RV's) buses and big touring rigs of every kind the Tuckerbox rest area retains the benefit which stopped bullock teams.

There is plenty of easy to use parking space. The greenest caravan touring team will have no trouble stopping to take time out.

The country battlers who provide services at the Tuckerbox deserve support.

Hume Highway changes cut into their businesses, but they press on.

Magnificent Batlow apples (Pink Lady) are available at $6 for a bag. We are still working through the bag we bought. There is real country produce and honest crafts right opposite the Tuckerbox.

The Station Heritage restaurant is a quirky experience worth trying and;

Bullocky Bills next door to the famous Dog serves decent tucker.

Anthony, Joanne, Peter, Cindy and the family have a big job ahead, time has not been kind to the Tuckerbox, but when we saw them on Saturday their sleaves where rolled up and they were showing the Old Dog some new tricks.

Editor's Note: An alternative to break the Hume Hwy stare cycle is the Olympic Way. Here is a link to Junee to point the way.

And don't forget Yass it is a few kilometres off the Hume Hwy over Conroy's Gap -

Batlow apples to keep Garth healthy
Batlow apples to keep Garth healthy

Bullock dray with young driver Dog on Tuckerbox
Bullock dray with young driver Dog on Tuckerbox

Lunch break (2hrs) Dog on the Tuckerbox at the Five Mile
Lunch break (2hrs) Dog on the Tuckerbox at the Five Mile