One of the great joys of walking through downtown Tanunda used to be seeing Norm Keast’s ute (photos below) parked along the street — overflowing with dogs that looked like Aussie shepherds.
We always felt kind of bad for ol’ Norm because the sign painted on the side of his vehicle said “Coolies.” We thought he’d wasted good money on signage only to have the sign maker misspell “collies.”
Shows how little we know, because it turns out there really is a breed of dogs known as coolies. They’re a working breed that pre-dates Border Collies. They originated right here in the Barossa Valley and Norm is one of the breed’s biggest proponents.
Norm reluctantly ended his locally-famous coolie show and retired at age 90 back in 2014, but the sign he posted to promote the show still stands on Gomersal Road.
We miss seeing his ute full o’ dogs parked along the street in Tanunda.
I found this unfortunate article from 2010:
A WILD and uncontrolled event in which dogs bit at least three people could spell the end of the legendary Norm’s Coolies show.
Light Regional Council has halted the show until owner Norm Keast improves safety and further investigates the incident on Saturday, in which former Channel Nine newsreader Kellie Connolly’s husband, Adam, was bitten.
Mrs Connolly reported the attacks to the council after her husband was treated at Tanunda Hospital for three puncture wounds to a leg.
“Norm and his coolies are an institution but I am concerned this could happen again,” Mrs Connolly said yesterday.
She said that, towards the end of the show, up to three dogs split from the pack, ran to the crowd and started to attack people.
It’s probably not good news when your dog bites an anchorwoman’s husband.