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Bob the Railway Dog · Corinne Fenton

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A dog's life

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Bob the Railway Dog

In , a puppy was among other dogs in a sheep van bound from Terowie in South Australia's mid north, to the far north beyond Quorn, there to be used for exterminating rabbits. The train stopped at Petersburg now Peterborough and Mr W S Ferry, the foreman porter at Petersburg, exchanged another dog for the puppy which was taken from the sheep van and immediately began his railway career. Mr Ferry trained him as a pup to do all kinds of tricks and later when he was guard on the narrow guage Northern Lines took Bob thousands of miles with him in the guard's van, occassionally Bob rode with the engineman generally riding in the coal tender.

At night he follows home his engine man of the day never leaving him or letting him out of his sight until they are back on the Railway Station in the morning, where he starts off on another of his ceaseless journeys.

Bob started life in the litter of working dogs. He later roamed to Adelaide, where he was captured with 50 other strays. The ragged bunch was bound for Carrieton, km away, where they were destined to become rabbit hunters, but Terowie-based train guard William Ferry took a liking to Bob and offered to buy him.

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The rabbiter, however, proposed a swap, one dog for another. William travelled km north-west to Port Augusta, found a stray dog loitering by the police station and Bob was his. Soon, Ferry was transferred from Terowie to Petersburg — now Peterborough — as a porter and a guard, with Bob always by his side as he worked on the trains.

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By the time Ferry was promoted to stationmaster in WA in , seven-year-old Bob had already graduated to jumping trains alone. Ferry took the job and left the intrepid Bob behind. When the intrepid Bob died in , his body was stuffed and, wearing this collar, was displayed at various railway stations. Today the collar can be found at the National Railway Museum in Port Adelaide, while a statue commemorating Bob was unveiled in Peterborough in

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