Dowerin’s iconic dog Rusty gets lucky in love with Rosey

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Shire of Dowerin chief executive Rebecca McCall with Rusty.
Camera IconShire of Dowerin chief executive Rebecca McCall with Rusty. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman, Cally Dupe

He’s the iconic, 2.7m tall dog greeting visitors to Dowerin with a friendly paw, but until now, Rusty has been an eligible bachelor.

But in a few weeks’ time, the steel kelpie — built in 2004 and standing near the Tin Dog Creek — will be solo no more.

Dowerin Engineering has been busy building a girlfriend for Rusty, who keeps watch on the entrance to the town 180km east of Perth.

Named Rosey, she will stand about 2.7m tall and 3.6m long — about two-thirds the size of Rusty, who is 2.7m tall and 4m long.

Her creation has been funded by a Federal Government grant and Lotterywest to develop the Pioneers’ Pathway, a self-drive tourism attraction between Toodyay and Merredin.

Shire of Dowerin chief executive Rebecca McCall with Rusty.
Camera IconShire of Dowerin chief executive Rebecca McCall with Rusty. Credit: Cally Dupe

Shire of Dowerin chief executive Rebecca McCall said Rosey’s creation was part of a broader plan to attract more tourists to Dowerin.

She hoped part of Rusty and Rosey’s love story would one day include pups carefully placed around town to give tourists more things to look at.

“Rusty forms part of the social fabric of the Dowerin community,” Ms McCall said.

“He is distinctive to residents, not only representing a segment of Dowerin’s pioneer history, but is characteristic of the foresight and ‘can do’ attitude shown by Dowerin’s past and present youth to be actively involved in the development of their community.

“Rosey will help strengthen key messaging, encouraging visitors to stop in Dowerin to experience our community spirit and attractions.”

Rosey will be built and put on the main street of Dowerin — Stewart Street — by the end of the month.

She will placed on a plinth near interpretative signage telling the story of pioneers Joe Anderson, Eva Stacy, Eugene O’Shaughnessy, and Jean and Mary Couper.

Rusty is moving locations, but not far — just to the other side of Goomalling-Merredin Road to improve safety for those stopping to visit him at his location one kilometre from the centre of town.

Ms McCall said the move would mean tourists no longer had to cross the busy Goomalling-Merredin Road to take photographs.

Rusty was originally built as part of a rural entrepreneurship program for Dowerin District High School in 2003 and 2004.

The students researched the town’s early settlement and came up with a subject for a sculpture. They discovered that miners and swagmen camped near the creek on their way to the Goldfields.

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