Eureka dog statue to return in time for 160th anniversary

SCULPTORS of the Pikeman’s Dog statue have returned to Ballarat to prepare for its reinstatement.

Sculptors Charles Smith and Joan Walsh-Smith with the Pikemans Dog sculpture. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

Sculptors Charles Smith and Joan Walsh-Smith with the Pikemans Dog sculpture. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

Artists Charles Smith and Joan Walsh-Smith were commissioned in 1999 to create the statue as a memorial to the miners who died in the Eureka Stockade.

Pikeman’s Dog was an Irish terrier whose grief at the loss of his master at the stockade was so immense that several witnesses recorded the story at the time.

Ms Walsh-Smith said the memorial portrayed Wee Jock gazing up at a pike where his master used to be.

Commissioned as an internal sculpture for the former Eureka Centre, it was placed into storage during the construction of the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E).

The artists are now working with Ballarat City Council to carefully consider its relocation to an exterior location at  Eureka Park.

Mr Smith said Wee Jock had become a symbol of steadfast loyalty and the story of the dog was also a “human” story at its heart.

“It’s such a human story – a little dog devoted to its master,” he said. 

“When he sat on the grave, he couldn’t be moved and he barked and howled.

“We designed the base as a triangle to symbolise the nature of the battle ... it was a shape that echoed it like an arrow head.”

Ms Smith said they also planned to create a bronze cast of Wee Jock’s Purple Cross, awarded in 1997 by the RSPCA.

The memorial’s reinstatement is expected to coincide with the 160th anniversary of Eureka later this year.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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