Red dog remembered in film

The life of the infamous kelpie who roamed the Pilbara in the 1970s will be told in  the feature film  Red Dog.

Made in Western Australia and  being released this year, the film has been selected to screen as a competitor at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The world premiere of the film will appear as part of the Generation 14plus section of the Berlin event, which may be a good sign for Red Dog, as another movie with strong WA links – The Black Balloon – won the category in 2008.

The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Louis de Bernieres and was directed by Kriv Stenders.

Red Dog was a kelpie/cattle dog who was well known for his travels across the Western Australian Pilbara region and  was adopted by the mining community.

He is often referred to as a red kelpie, but no such breed actually exists.

There is a statue resurrected in his honour in Dampier, one of the towns he would frequent.

He had various names to those who knew him, including Bluey, Tally Ho and Dog of the Northwest.

It  is believed his first owner was Colonel Cummings, who brought him to the Dampier area, and his second was John Stazzonnelli, a truck driver.

Stazzonnelli’s work meant the dog travelled as far as Perth, Broome, Roebourne, Point Samson and Port Hedland and after his owner’s death, Red Dog travelled on his own and was taken in by the community and treated by a local vet.

He was made a member of the Dampier Salts Sports and Social Club and the Transport Union.

Despite his many friends in the community, it is believed his death in 1979 was caused by deliberate strychnine poisoning.

The “Red Dog” nickname has been attributed to the red dirt of the Pilbara Region

American actor Josh Lucas will join Rachael Taylor, Loene Carmen and Luke Ford, and of course, Koko the dog.

Sadly, Koko will not be able to attend the Berlin event due to quarantine restrictions, but he will be in attendance at both proposed premieres in WA.

One will be held in Perth and the other in the Pilbara.

Red Dog is scheduled for release in Australia around Easter.

Image: The West Australian

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