Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Graduation Roadtrip

Last week Chris and I took a mini road trip to Wagga for my graduation. Here are some maps to show you where we went. I'm starting with a map of the whole of Australia, then zooming in progressively so you can see our actual route.

It was about five and a quarter hours driving each way, and we only had one night's accomodation, so we didn't really leave time for much in the way of sight-seeing. I think that was a real mistake, as I'd never been to Wagga before. What we should have done was make a week's holiday of it and take the kids with us, but that just didn't seem like a viable option when we were planning. I'd definitely like to go back again.

The countryside that we drove through was what seems to me to be typical Australian farmland. I've enjoyed a fair few family holidays driving through New South Wales, and though I've seen it all before, it never fails to lift my spirits to see it again.

The above photos were taken near Gundagai. We stopped at "The Dog on the Tucker Box" on the way home because I'd never seen it before. Let me tell you a little bit about Gundagai and the dog...

First listen to this popular old bush song, sung by Australian country music legend Slim Dusty.

Now here comes a confession to my lack of Australian historical knowledge.

I knew the song, I knew it well, I'd sung it many times. But I did not know what on earth the dog on the tuckerbox was all about. I'd heard of it, of course. I know that "tucker" is Aussie slang for food, so I know that a tuckerbox is something you keep your food in. I knew that it was a story from Australia's pioneering days. I had some notion in the back of my head that it was a monument to a wonderful, loyal dog who had guarded a drover's food. But I didn't really know.

 We got to the dog.

And there I read this poem:

I'm used to punchin' bullock teams across the hills and plains.
I've teamed outback for forty years through bleedin' hail and rain.
I've lived a lot of troubles down, without a bloomin' lie,
But I can't forget what happened just five miles from Gundagai.

'Twas getting dark, the team got bored, the axle snapped in two.
I lost me matches and me pipe, so what was I to do?
The rain it was coming on, and hungry too was I,
And me dog shat in me tucker-box five miles from Gundagai.

Some blokes I know have stacks of luck, no matter where they fall,
But there was I, Lord love a duck, no bloody luck at all.
I couldn't heat a pot of tea or keep me trousers dry,
And me dog shat in me tucker-box five miles from Gundagai.

Now, I can forgive the bleedin' team, I can forgive the rain.
I can forgive the damp and cold and go through it again.
I can forgive the rotten luck, but 'ang me till I die,
I can't forgive that bloody dog, five miles from Gundagai.

Um, what?!?

That's the dog we build a monument to?

Anyway, as to the graduation itself, you can read all about it at my "other" blog here.


Tania Schaap said...

This made me laugh! I too did not have a full understanding about what the dog on the tuckerbox was all about. I was under the very same impressions as you! Oh well, you learn something new every day! Thanks Fiona for making this my 'new fact' for today.

Brandy@YDK said...

um. i don't get it. maybe it's because of all the native language?