What is it about Australia and its obsession with big things?

Yass Travel Blog

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worlds biggest merino, Goulburn

Capital country, the Riverina and the Murray.

I don't know why, but if you drive for a few hundred kilometres in any direction in Australia, you will invariably bump into the biggest koala, lobster or sheep, or something to that effect.

The stretch of Hume Highway from Albury to Sydney seems to be a goldmine for this sort of thing.

Sydney boasts less rainy days than Melbourne yet somehow gets more rainfall. Crossing the Victorian-New South Wales border I half expected to find myself in some sort of promised land! But it was actually very barren. I found out later that one-third of New South Wales is well watered and generally green.

The other two-thirds is a dry expanse that spreads west into the Australian outback.

Our second day of driving, after a night camped by the Burrinjuck dam (which was so low it was mostly gravel), brought much the same kind of dry heat. It didn't help that the air-conditioning in our car was broken. We suffered the heat, dust and smoke cloud from nearby bush fires in the baking car. Summer in Australia. This was the way to do it. Shorts and singlets were in order!

In a way the dryness reminded me of north-east Victoria, the part of Australia that more and more I have come to love. North-east Victoria in the very least is what comes to mind when I think of Australia. The idea is vastly different to what most people conceive of Australia. From my travels I've gotten the idea that what most people think of when they imagine Australia is Surfer's Paradise, the Gold Coast, the Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock and the Australian outback.

Ettamogah Pub
But my Australia is dry. It is gold, but not in the same way the Gold Coast is gold, and it is rich, but not in the way of the Daintree Rainforest. On the lonely road, the heat sears above the bitumen like waves of the sea. I suppose it's because of the sparse nature of the land that they felt it necessary to dot the highway with all sorts of weird and giant things.

For instance the Ettamogah Pub would be normal except that it has a car on top of it and looks like it came out of Disneyland. Next we made a quick stop in Holbrook which had a giant submarine in the ground, and of the big variety was the World's Biggest Merino (a sheep) in Goulburn.

But perhaps the most intruiging was what is known around Australia - rather famously - as the dog on the tuckerbox.

Dog on the tucker box

The iconic statue of a dog sitting on a tuckerbox lives in the town of Gundagai. The information centre's surrounds boasts a historic walk, which, is actually not much more than a well trodden path that goes in a forty foot circle and ends up back where it started. It did however have a number of sign boards that displayed old poems and little stories about Gundagai.

I don't know why it is exactly that this statue of a dog sitting on a box is so famous to Australians. The story goes that a man called Bill once got bogged five miles from Gundagai, had his main bullock run away, and then came home to find his dog had sat on his tuckerbox. Apparently all his mates laughed at him and now there is a statue to commemorate the occassion! What occassion, you say? Well, the line in the poem reads 'Then the dog s(h)at on the Tucker Box', which really makes a lot more sense. If he had just sat on it, (as most people know the story) it wouldn't have been half as big a deal! That he shat on it is a whole different story!

portia says:
I enjoy reading your perspectives on Australia. Great story about the dog too, and I learned a new word "shat", which for whatever reason had never crossed my path!
Posted on: Jun 01, 2007
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worlds biggest merino, Goulburn
worlds biggest merino, Goulburn
Ettamogah Pub
Ettamogah Pub
Dog on the tucker box
Dog on the tucker box
us infront of the worlds biggest m…
us infront of the worlds biggest …
Ettamogah Pub
Ettamogah Pub
Ettamogah Pub
Ettamogah Pub
smoke cloud
smoke cloud
australia has some intruiging plac…
australia has some intruiging pla…
in the car
in the car
Dog on the tucker box
Dog on the tucker box
Poem: Dog on the tucker box
Poem: Dog on the tucker box
Dog on the tucker box
Dog on the tucker box
Rosellas, Burrinjuck Dam, Yass
Rosellas, Burrinjuck Dam, Yass
Burrinjuck Dam campsite
Burrinjuck Dam campsite
Burrinjuck Dam campsite, notice th…
Burrinjuck Dam campsite, notice t…
Burrinjuck dam campsite
Burrinjuck dam campsite
kangaroos
kangaroos
kangaroos!
kangaroos!
burrinjuck dam
burrinjuck dam
Yass
photo by: Chelsea