Dog Rock

Dog Rock, Albany, Aboriginal sacred site

Public Art : Dog Rock (also known as Yakka)

Sculptor : Not applicable

Description : An enormous granite rock painted to look like a Bull Mastiff dog sniffing in the breeze. The white painted collar doubles as a reflector to help motorists at night.

Location : Dog Rock is located right on a bend next to the Dog Rock Shopping Centre, 298 Middleton Road, Albany, Western Australia.

History of Dog Rock : Dog Rock is a significant site for the local Aboriginal community and tourists alike. Local aborigines call the rock Yakka, meaning wild dog tamed. If you were wondering, a wild dog is called a twert. The other end of the dog can be found if you venture down to St Joseph's (Roman Catholic Church). There you will find  sharp rock rising from the ground and that is called Yakknint (a dog's tail). Aboriginal people have never camped or sought shelter beneath Dog Rock for reasons unknown.
Dog Rock was named because of the fact it looks like a dog sniffing the breeze. The rock has survived despite numerous attempts to have it removed. In the 1920's they wanted to blast it out to make the road wider but due to a public outcry the idea was aborted. In the 1960's an idea was proposed to have the rock shifted to a roundabout more closer to the heart of the city. Given the size of the rock, the local radio station 6VA suggested it be cut into slices and reassembled at the new site. Any thought of moving it now is impossible as it's recognised as a significant Aboriginal heritage site and an iconic symbol of the area.

Myths, Legends and Dreamtime : There are numerous myths and legends about this rock however one of the most popular tales involves the Silverthorne family who lived in Albany around the 1840's in a cabin on top of Mount Clarence. One day, when the mail ship came to the settlement John and his wife decided to go down to greet it in the hope of recieving some mail. They left their little three year old daughter , Betty, fast asleep in the cabin along with the family spaniel, Victor. When the Silverthornes returned home they discovered a group of Aboriginals had surrounded their child. As they ran to Betty, their dog Victor went wild and began snapped at them. They, in return, threw spears at him, eventually killing poor Victor.
When the Aborgines left they buried the dead pooch on the western side of Mount Clarence but as luck would have it a big storm came in that night and washed Victor's grave away. The following day a mysterious granite rock appeared at the bottom of the hill in the shape of a spaniel's head.


Aboriginal dreamtime legends tell a different tale, believing the rock is what their gods used to model the design of dogs on.

Dog Rock, Albany, public art

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