How much do you know about Dog Rock and its canine legends?

Headshot of Kellie Balaam
Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
Dog Rock in the 1880s.
Camera IconDog Rock in the 1880s. Credit: State Library of Western Australia/State Library of WA

Everyone who lives in Albany would be able to point you in the direction of Dog Rock.

The huge granite outcrop has the unmistakable appearance of a canine sniffing the air.

But how much do you know about the history of this iconic rock?

The landmark situated next to Middleton Road is known to the Menang people as “yacka” meaning wild dog tamed.

In 1907, The Australian described Dog Rock as resembling “the head of a sleuth-hound, looking piteously skywards, and, as it were, howling off the approaching Angel of Death”.

However, as beloved as the rock is today, we are lucky it still exists.

In 1921, there was a proposal to blast out the rock and widen the road.

The push caused plenty of uproar and led to a referendum which produced a vote of 409 to keep it and 207 to blow it up.

Dog Rock has been the subject of many stories over the years since Albany was first settled by Major Edmund Lockyer in 1827.

Albany's iconic Dog Rock on Middleton Road.
Camera IconAlbany's iconic Dog Rock on Middleton Road. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

One particularly creative story was published in the Teachers’ Journal in May 1930 by T.H. Roberts, who named his source as Sir Richard Spencer’s diary.

It was also published in the Albany Advertiser on May 13, 1930.

In this legend taking place in the 1800s, a settler named John Silverthorne lived with his family in an isolated cabin on Mt Clarence.

They buried their spaniel Victor on the western slope of Mt Clarence.

But a wild storm washed the grave away.

The next morning, they were stunned to find a granite boulder in the shape of Victor’s head at his grave site.

In the 1930s, a collar was painted around Dog Rock’s “neck” to make it more visible.

And in the 1960s, radio station 6VA manager Ted Furlong suggested the rock could be cut into pieces and then reassembled at a new, more central site to increase its exposure to tourists.

I can imagine this, too, would have created some robust discussion at the time.

In 1973, Dog Rock was classified by the National Trust and at last given some official protection.

Long may it be left alone.

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