FOR years one of Ballarat's best friends, the Pikeman's Dog, took pride of place at the Eureka Stockade gardens.
But the statue of the famous Irish terrier, unveiled in 1999 by then premier Steve Bracks, went missing during construction of the new Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka.
Now one resident wants to know why.
Grant Tillett has called on the Ballarat City Council to locate "Wee Jock" and reinstate him.
"According to all the websites, Wee Jock’s present place of abode is in the gardens in the corner of Rodier and Eureka Street, but... he is not there and I seek your assistance in finding him,” he said at last week’s ordinary council meeting at the Ballarat Town Hall.
The statue pays tribute to Wee Jock – the famous canine representing loyalty and bravery, who stayed guarding his owner, an Irish miner, long after he was killed in the Eureka uprising.
"He is not there and I seek your assistance in finding him"
Eureka Stockade Memorial Association spokesperson Frank Williams said Wee Jock’s master was killed during the Eureka rebellion and the loyal canine jumped on his chest and wailed.
Even when the death cart arrived to take the bodies away, Wee Jock jumped aboard and continued wailing on his master's chest.
“It’s a very evocative story,” Mr Williams said.
City of Ballarat chief executive officer Anthony Schinck said the statue was placed in secure storage following the works undertaken to change the Eureka Centre building into the new Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka.
He said the sculpture would be discussed at a meeting of the Public Art Advisory Committee next month.
“The committee will discuss options for the future of the public art work in the area surrounding the Eureka Gardens,” he said.
In 1997 the RSPCA awarded Wee Jock a purple cross for bravery.
The statue was unveiled in Ballarat by former premier Steve Bracks and Ireland’s Ambassador to Australia Richard O’Brien.
The statue also acknowledged the 14 different nationalities present at the diggings at the time of the 1854 rebellion.