Tuesday 26 September 2017

Dingo Books to Avoid

When Berenice and her husband, Bern, began breeding Australian Cattle Dogs she spent many hours researching the history of the breed which had been developed with Dingo infusion.

However, with this research she had a rapidly mushrooming curiosity, and portfolio, building up about the Dingo, and I started to keep records of anything I could find on the animal that intrigued her so much.

Aside from periodic short progress reports from the CSIRO and some information from the research carried out by Professor MacIntosh of Sydney University during the 1950's, reliable information on the Dingo, was virtually non-existent up to the 1970's. As far as the public was concerned the Dingo was a yellow dog with an evil expression that killed sheep.


Back in September 2015 I wrote a blog titled Word of Advice to New Dingo Researchers http://dingolady.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/word-of-advice-to-new-dingo-researchers.html.

Since then I have come across two upsetting books about the Dingo that astounded me are still popping up.  I must emphasise that these are NOT recommended reading material. I am highlighting them here so we can be aware they may still be floating around.

The first is titled Dingoes by Colin Bednall published in 1967. It was part of the Life in Australia series. This book was in Berenice’s collection and had been sent to her by a society member in 1997. The lady found it on a table of “withdrawn” books at a school fete and felt it had to be removed. I know that was 20 years ago but I was shocked that, even at that time so much had already been achieved to gain support for the dingo, that this book was in a school library.

It is full of all the old myths and legends about dingoes calling them both cowards and aggressive. It promotes dingo hunting as ‘exciting’ and mentions how cattlemen and trappers look forward to ‘puppy season’.  Some of the statements are simply too sickening to mention here.

According to Trove, a book search engine that includes content from libraries, museums, archives, repositories and other research and collecting organisations, copies are still held in 10 state, university and other libraries across Australia. 

I didn’t check all libraries but at least the NSW State Library copy is stored onsite at the Mitchell Library and not generally available for loan. It is also classified as JUVEILLE literature.

The second book is The Australian Dingo (King of the Bush) by JS Bacon published in 1955. This book I picked up from a second-hand bookshop last year.

You only have to look at the chapter titles to see how it is slanted against the dingo. Just two are Getting to Know the Enemy and Preparing for the Hunt. In the Forward, Bacon states he wrote the book to assist land and stock men in their endeavours to rid themselves of these terrible pests. He was obviously a “dogger”. He talks about areas of “infestation” and the “treacherous, deceitful” look of the dingo.

Trove lists eight libraries that have this book in their collections.

With both books, there are passages so wrong and appalling I cannot bring myself to mention or quote them.

Is it any wonder that with books like this Australians were brainwashed against the dingo?

Given the life of second hand books, how many similar books are still out there? I will certainly be on the lookout for any more if only to remove them from circulation. I hope all others who love and understand our beautiful dingo will do the same.