Anyone who has ever been to Albany will know Dog Rock. It’s hard to miss. Dog Rock is a significant site for the local Aboriginal community and tourists alike. They call the rock Yakka, meaning “wild dog tamed”. If you were wondering, a wild dog is called a twert.
Dog Rock was given its name because of the fact it looks like a dog sniffing the air. The rock hasn’t been loved by all the members of the community, having survived numerous attempts to have it removed. In the 1920’s they wanted to blast it out to make the road wider (and safer) but due to a public outcry the idea was aborted. In the 1960s an idea was proposed to have the rock shifted to a roundabout more closer to the heart of the city. Which was a silly idea considering the other end of the dog can be found a short walk away at St Joseph’s (Roman Catholic Church). Yes, that sharp rock rising from the ground is the dog’s tail and it’s called Yakknint (a dog’s tail). The local radio station 6VA, suggested that it be cut into slices and reassembled at the new site, much to everyone’s horror.
Don’t fear Dog Rock lovers, 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.
Interestingly or scary, Aboriginal people have never camped or sought shelter beneath Dog Rock for reasons unknown.
As you would expect 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 1840s. As the story goes they lived in a cabin on top of Mount Clarence.
One day, John and his wife spied the mail ship sailing into port and decided to go down to greet it, in the hope of receiving mail. The couple not wanting to disturb their sleeping little three-year-old daughter, Betty, decided to leave her behind in the cabin being guarded by the family spaniel, Victor.
As the Silverthorne’s were returning home they saw a group of Aboriginals running towards their cabin where Betty was still sleeping. Victor (the dog)went wild and began growling and snapping at the unwelcome visitors. In retaliation the aborigines began throwing spears at the pooch, eventually killing him.
When the Aborigines left, the family buried the poor Victor on the western side of Mount Clarence but as luck would have it a big storm came in that night and washed dog’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 tell a different tale. They believe their gods used the rock as a model for the design of dogs.