Behind Bob's tale

BOOK LAUNCH: Bob Wilson is the author of the new book Bob's Railway which explores the political environment surrounding the life of Peterborough's Bob the railway dog.
BOOK LAUNCH: Bob Wilson is the author of the new book Bob's Railway which explores the political environment surrounding the life of Peterborough's Bob the railway dog.

A new book, titled Bob's Railway was launched in Peterborough last Wednesday, detailing the social, political and economic status surrounding Bob the railway dog's existence.

John Wilson from Adelaide has a fascination for railways and South Australia history and put together his new book from a stray fact he heard about Bob at the Clare railway centenary.

After hearing Bob's story, John researched the dog and discovered that there was a lot of information about him that was not right.

Research brought John to Charles Cameron Kingston, the Premier of South Australia from 1893 to 1899 and Joseph Henry Smith who was the chairman of the railway commissioners at the same time. The rivalry between the two affected the life of Bob, and John found this interesting.

"The research that I found was that Smith approved Bob riding the trains and there was some opposition and parties that wanted to get him off the train. CC Kingston became Premier and he was opposed to Joseph Smith and was keen to get rid of Smith and in fact he did get rid of Smith and that is when Bob stopped riding the trains. It was not long after that that Bob was run over by a butcher's cart in Hindley Street," John explained.

Alongside the political environment that came along with Bob's journeys, also came how unique Bob himself was as a dog.

John explains that from his extensive research, there was no other dog he could find that had such a story like Bob's.

"I think one thing that does need to be said is that Bob was unique in the world. There is no other dog quite like him anywhere in the world and I think that is something that we need to wave the flag and tell as part of our unique history in the outback.

"I think it is a great thing for Peterborough to have the statue of Bob in the main street, it is the main focus and it is unique," Mr Wilson said.

Also at the launch of the book, was a reciting of a poem called Bob by Ben Eggleton, a bush poet who specifically wrote a poem about Bob's story for the launch.