Gundagai Smokers Bowl

A commemorative ‘Smokers Bowl’ made from desert mulga wood and presented to Prime Minister Joe Lyons at the unveiling of the Pioneers Monument at Gundagai on the 25th November, 1932. 

The Pioneers Monument, also commonly known as the ‘Dog on the Tucker Box’, is located at Snake Gully, 8 km from Gundagai in New South Wales. The statue was inspired by the poem Bullocky Bill, attributed to the pen-name ‘Bowyang Yorke’, which is based on a traditional drover's poem that originated in the 1850s. The poem celebrates the life of a mythical drover's dog that loyally guarded the tuckerbox of its owner.

The lidded wooden bowl is made from desert mulga with a silver inscription plate attached to one side. The bowl has a wide base with a bark edge, with a short stem tapering to a flared rim. The lid has a slightly convex upper surface and central knob, and the space inside the bowl allows for the storing of tobacco or cigarettes. The silver inscription plate reads:

Presented to

Rt. Hon. J. A. Lyons P.C.

Prime Minister of the Commonwealth

At the unveiling of

Pioneers Monument

Gundagai. 25 11 32

An article published in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 29th November notes that more than 3000 people attended the unveiling by the Prime Minister. Two important guests in attendance were Mr George Fox, an 87 year old who was one of the last surviving Cobb and Co. coach drivers, and Mrs Maria Luff, who at 92 years of age was the oldest resident of the Gundagai district. According to the article, the smokers bowl was in fact a gift from Mrs Luff. The Prime Minister expressed his thanks while speaking of the need to put aside petty differences, such as political partisanship, when faced with difficulties such as those experienced by the early pioneers.

A carved wooden bowl with a lid and an engraved plaque.

Photo: National Trust of Tasmania