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The Immortal Dog (1922)
(By Jim Grahame in the "Bulletin.")

I heard it in the good old days
(I found them mostly bad) ;
I hear it in my hoary age ;
I heard it as a lad.
And though it happened long ago,
The truth we can't deny.
A dog sat on a tucker-box
Nine miles from Gundagai.

It's whistled up Monaro way ;
It's danced to on the plains ;
It's written over autographs
And scribbled iu the trains.
And dogs may come and dogs may go,
But one will never die--
The dog perched on the tucker-box
Nine miles from Gundagai.

The hatter hums it to himself
(Poor exile of the scrub) ;
And the loafer in the township
Tells the barmaid at the pub.
The soldiers sang it at the Front--
A kind of battle-cry--
"The dog sat on the tucker-box
Nine miles from Gundagai."

You'll hear it in the drovers' camps;
You'll bear it in the bends ;
It travels from the river's head
To where the river ends.
The black gins croon it in the night,
A droning lullaby--
"The dog sat on the tucker-box
Nine miles from Gundagai."

And thinking of the dogs I've known,
I wonder was he like
The collie dog, the kelpie dog,
The mongrel or the tyke ?
And as they pass before my mind
Like phantoms slinking by,
I see no canine on a box
Nine miles from Gundagai.

There is a spring that trickles there--
So says the oldest hand--
Where man and beast may quench their thirst
When drought is on the land.
And though I've never seen the spot,
I've often wondered why
That dog sat on the tucker-box
Nine miles from Gundagai.


From The NSW newspaper Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser 7 November 1922 p. 2.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory