Bob's first home was a public hotel in Adelaide, it is said that he developed a liking of railway workers who frequented the hotel and would follow them back to work. Bob would often stray from the hotel and when he was about 9 months old he was caught and sent along with a pack of other dogs to exterminate rabbits near Carrieton. Story has it that Mr W.S. Ferry, the foreman porter at Petersburg (now Peterborough), exchanged another dog for the puppy. However other reports state that Bob may have broken loose from the pack and was later taken in by Mr Ferry.
When Mr Ferry became a guard on the narrow-gauge Northern Lines he took Bob thousands of miles with him in the guards van. Occasionally Bob rode with the enginemen, generally riding on the coal in the tender. Mr Ferry later became Assistant Stationmaster at Peterborough, but Bob the Railway Dog continued to ride the trains. Peterborough was his home but Bob travelled hundreds of thousands of miles on the railways.
For many years Bob rode engines all over South Australia, sometime venturing interstate; he was even a guest of honour at the Melbourne exhibition in the 1880s. His last days were spent on the Silverton Tramway Company where he died in the 1890s. His body was preserved and stood for many years in a glass case in the Exchange Hotel. Today a statue of Bob the Railway Dog stands in the main street of Peterborough. His collar was kept in the office of the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen before it was donated to the Museum in 1966.
On Friday the 3rd of February 2012 the ABC aired a story on Bob the Railway Dog on Stateline. Part of the story was shot at the National Railway Museum. Below are pictures of Bob (he is on the loco cab in the first image) and Dougal the sheepdog at the NRM while 'playing' Bob for the Stateline story.