THE Dog on the Tuckerbox has taken its rightful pride of place atop the Pioneer Monument five miles from Gundagai after a short absence for repairs.

Riverina MP and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack secured funding to cover the cost of repairing the iconic statue, which was damaged by vandalism late last month.

Mr McCormack said while he was appalled the national treasure was vandalised, he is pleased to see it back where it belongs.

“The Dog took a trip up the Hume, over Conroy’s Gap and on to the Australian National University in Canberra, where the careful process of restoring the Dog to its former glory was undertaken,” Mr McCormack said.

“It then took a track winding back along the road to Gundagai to its rightful place, where it has seen many tourists since taking its post in 1932 guarding its owner’s tuckerbox and it fantastic to see it back.”

The money will be delivered pending the finalisation of court proceedings against the Wagga Wagga man accused of vandalising the national icon.

The 86-year-old statue is a tribute to Australia’s pioneers and bullockies. The statue weighs more than 200 kilograms and was cast in bronze by a foundry in Sydney after being sculpted by Gundagai stonemason Frank Rusconi.

Then Prime Minister Joseph Lyons unveiled the statue, which was inspired by the poem, Bullocky Bill, which tells the tale of a driver’s dog which loyally guarded its owner’s tuckerbox until it died. A number of poems and songs have been written immortalising the Dog in the Australian vernacular.

Hannah Maguire