A Tribute to the Australian Cattle Dog
A book by Gerald Walsh, called "Pioneering Days", is more than a series of well told yarns. It commerorates the work of Australia's forgotten pioneers and the innovations that have contributed so much to Australia's rural development. It establishes the foundations of rural Asutralia, and, thoughtfully, the author has included a chapter on the Australian Cattle Dog
Gerald Walsh is no stranger to rural Australia. He is a senior lecturer in History at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra and is the single contributer to the "Australian Dictionary of Biography".
Robert Kaleski (1877-1961), the first serious writer on Australia's working dogs and author of "Australian Barkers and Biters" (1914-1933) once suggested that if Australians wanted to honour the pioneers of their vast continent, they should erect two statues in everlasting bronze.
The second one should be that of a pastoralist, a Merino beside him and his faithful sheep dog at his feet; but the first one should be that of a bullock driver or teamster, with greenhide whip on his shoulder, standing beside his dray, bullock team and his cattle dog.
Kaleski had a point. While he rightfully acknowledged that the wool grower and Marino made Australia properous,it was the trail-blazing teamster with his team of bullocks and cattle dog who went before him and broke the way.
Like the Kelpie, the Australian Cattle Dog as he is now called, was especially bred for Australian conditions, but his history goes back a little further and is less controversial, this largely due to the work and writings of Kaleski himself, who did much to help fix the breed at the beginning of the twentieth century.