Bob was born in 1882, but he did not stick around his home for long time. At the age of only 9 months, he left his home and became a professional dog hitchhiker on railway locomotives.
During his life, he traveled the South Australian Raliways systém and all the railmen and railway workers knew who he is. After some time, even the passangers started to recognize Bob and he become quite popular.
Bob was most of the time sitting in the locomotive tender, just in front of the coal space, traveling thousands of miles. His favourite place was the Yankee engine, he just love the big whistle and belching smokestack.
It is believed, that Bob visited almost all the mainland states of Australia. Except the West Australia, which did not have a railway connection at that time. Its no wonder, that his home Petersborough make him an honorable guest at the opening of a new railway between Petersburg and Broken Hill.
Bob had several accidents during his hitchhiking career. At the start, he was often falling off the train, but after some time, he improved his jumping abilities so much, that he was able to jump from one locomotive to another, even in motion.
According to one story, there was an accident when Bob felt from an engine and injured his leg. He was able to walk with this injured leg two miles to the Saddleworth, where he found help. He also lost inch of his tail and one time his coat caught fire. But none of these accidents stopped the Bob from continuing his railway travels.
Heather Parker said about Bob: He had a wonderful temperament and loved people, particularly the engine drivers. He’d start off going in one direction, he’d get off and think about it for a while – he could pick and choose where he wanted to go – and hop on another train. He liked Broken Hill and he had a friend down in Hindley Street, Adelaide, who used to give him food.”
When the Bob was older, his popularity crossed the Australian borders and in the 1895 an English magazine Spectator shared Bobs story. They said this about Bob: His name is Railway Bob and he passes his whole existence on the train – his favourite seat being on top of the coal box. He has travelled many thousands of miles, going all over the lines in South Australia. He is known in Victoria, frequently seen in Sydney and has been up as far as Brisbane!
„The most curious part of his conduct is that he has no master, but every engine driver is his friend. At night he follows home his engine man of the day never leaving him or letting him out of his sight until they are back on the Railway Station in the morning, where he starts off on another of his ceaseless journeys„
When the Bob died in the 1895, his body was stuffed and he was still wearing his collar. And even today, you can find his collar at the National Railway Museum in Port Adelaide.
In 2009, the local community of Peterborough, as Petersburg is now known, raised funds for a statue of Bob. This was unveiled in November, and is located on the eastern end of Main Street
And what exact breed was Bob? We are not sure, some people believe that they might be related to Bearded Collies, but it is more likely, that he was German Collie, mixed with the Smithfield. Mr. Henry Hollamby claimed, that he was the breeder of Bob and he claimed that his father was a German Collie.