Along the Road to Gundagai
Jack O’Hagan’s most famous song, 'Along the Road to Gundagai', was written in 1921, and featured in J&N Tait’s pantomime Aladdin at the King’s Theatre, Melbourne, in December 1922.
With limited local recording facilities in Australia, it was not until 1931 that the song was recorded, in Britain by Peter Dawson. Reportedly, 50,000 copies of the 78rpm shellac discs were sold in just three months.
The popularity of the song continued in the following decades, with an instrumental version becoming the theme for the popular long-running radio serial Dad and Dave from Snake Gully (1937–53).
Since first being recorded by Dawson, numerous performers have recorded their own versions, from The Harmoniques and Col Joye, Slim Dusty and Barry Humphries, to Rolf Harris and Liza Minnelli.
O’Hagan wrote two further songs featuring the small New South Wales town of Gundagai, ‘Where the Dog Sits on the Tuckerbox (Five Miles from Gundagai)’ (1938) and ‘When a Boy from Alabama Meets a Girl from Gundagai’ (1942).
'Along the Road to Gundagai’ remains one of the great Australian folk songs and Peter Dawson’s recording of it one of the best-known versions. It was inducted into the NFSA’s Sounds of Australia in 2007.