Local author tells untold tail behind Australia
SOMETIMES a book comes along with a title that might not appeal to the masses and surprises us by shooting up the best-seller list within weeks of its release.
The Dogs That Made Australia by local Guy Hull rose to No.5 on The Age Top 10 and the first print run sold out around the country. Interest spread quickly and interviews with ABC's Conversations and filming for Landline followed.
Guy, a dog behaviourist who has recently moved to the Sunshine Coast from the Snowy Mountains, has written a book about the dogs that made our country: the hunters, workers, the legends. He says it is a story no-one has thought to tell before, but an important one about the role of dogs in building our nation.
"I've always had an interest in dogs," Guy said. "I have been a dog behaviourist for 40 years and I ran two dog pounds in NSW and I've been a Council Ranger. I wanted to tell a story about dogs that has not been told before."
The Dogs That Made Australia pays tribute to the dogs that gave their all for Australia's prosperity: the fearless hounds that saved fledgling colonies from famine, the courageous heelers and tireless collies that powered the rise of beef and wool, the tough little home-grown terriers that protected the homestead and garden and the extraordinary police dogs, ahead of their time, loved by the nation.
Guy has written a vivid and meticulously researched history of Australia told from the perspectives of the dingo and of the dogs that were imported and developed here, as well as the humans who loved, feared and worked them.
"Kelpies and cattle dogs, the surf dogs, the police dogs...it's mostly about the dogs that were developed here, predominately cattle dogs," Guy said.
"The history of dogs is long. It was women who domesticated dogs. They handled the currency. They had the food. Any dog loves you if you provide the food. The book talks about how the dog spread into all points of the compass and made its way down South East Asia and to Australian then as dingos, and cross bred with native dogs.
Guys is not surprised by the instant success of his book. He knew the story of Aussie dogs needed to be told and would be general appeal.
"I always thought it was a huge story," he said. "It is pushing for top billing. It will be around for ages. It is a book that Australia badly needed.
"Dogs are not just good for just individuals, they are good for society. They are companion animals, good company, give people a reason to go out and exercise, to care about something. A well-managed dog is a bonus to anyone, to personal health and community health.