Sunday 31st of May 2020

celebrating 66 years, two months, five days and 27 minutes...

nothing�s sacred...

Today, at midday, I celebrated 66 years, two months, five days and 27 minutes of cartooning. On this site alone, one can count 5,193.7 cartoons. Thus, while at the local barber yesterday, I felt I deserved a small pat on the back. Mind you there are a lot of better cartoonists missing in the line up of the Press Club. This is where one remembers Groucho Marx about joining a club, especially: "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made." We've all been there.

So in the next comments, I will explore some of the best cartoonists in this country, some of them born overseas, like me.

György Molnár...

Molnar, George (1910–1998)

by Attila Urmenyhazi

George Molnar (György Molnár) was born in Nagyvárad, Hungary (Romanian city of Oradea since WWII ) on 25 April 1910 and came to Australia as a sponsored migrant in 1939 with a B.Arch. (Budapest) to begin work as a government architect in Canberra.

In 1945 he took up a lectureship at the University of Sydney and also began contributing cartoons to the Daily Telegraph. His talents were recognized by the opposition daily newspaper, TheSydney Morning Herald which employed him from 1952 to 1984. His sharp, satirical and thought provoking, black & white fine line drawings more than just entertained readers three times a week. Considered irrefutably a conservative European in attitude and disposition, he frequently criticized irrational trends and social mores through his incisively executed art form.

As professor of architecture at Sydney and NSW universities, he alerted the establishment and the public to the high cost of the 1960s and '70s uncontrolled building development boom causing the destruction of many Victorian & Georgian buildings in Sydney. He was a passionate advocate of modern architecture but equally dedicated to the preservation of heritage assets and to modern urban development that was sustainable, soulful and allowed for humane dimensions. Unfortunately more than half of Sydney’s heritage buildings were lost before the Heritage Act (1977) and Environmental Planning & Assessment Act (1979) were introduced.

Molnar was fluent in Hungarian, French, German and English and was a fount of Latin adages which were delivered with aplomb when opportune. The architect-professor, cartoonist-commentator, master water-colourist, writer (Statues) and social analyst was awarded the OBE in 1971 and the AO in 1988 for his unique contribution to Australian society. Australian newspapers responded to his death with substantial articles, praising his abilities as "the finest newspaper cartoonist of his generation" (The Australian) and his personal qualities as "a cultured man whose wit was as elegant as his art" (The Age).


the extended hall of fame — aussie cartoonists...


Bruce Petty, born in 1929 at Doncaster, a suburb of Melbourne, is one of Australia's best known political satirists and cartoonists.[1] He is a regular contributor to Melbourne's The Age newspaper.

His intricate images have been described as "doodle-bombs" for their free-association of links between various ideas, people and institutions. Agejournalist Martin Flanagan wrote that Petty "re-invented the world as a vast scribbly machine with interlocking cogs and levers that connected people in wholly logical but unlikely ways."[1]


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Stanley George Cross (3 December 1888 – 16 June 1977) was born in the United States but was known as an Australian strip and political cartoonist who drew for Smith's Weekly and The Herald and Weekly Times. Cross is famous for his iconic 1933 "For gorsake, stop laughing: this is serious!” cartoon as well as the Wally and the Major and The Potts cartoon strips.

Cross was the third son born to English-born parents, Theophilus Edwin Cross, builder and architect,[1]and his wife Florence, née Stanbrough,[2] who met in Brisbane, married in Sydney then sought their fortune in the United States. His father hoped to make money there but only found work as a carpenter(he became secretary of the American Carpenters' Union).[3] Cross was born on 3 December 1888 inLos Angeles, California. The family returned to Australia in 1892[4] when Stan was four years old and settled in Perth, Western Australia. Cross was a gifted student who attended Perth High School on a scholarship.[1] The University of Adelaide offered him a scholarship but Cross turned it down due to his father's ill-health.[2] He left school at sixteen and joined the State Government Railways Department as a clerical cadet.[4] He studied art for a number of years during the evenings at Perth Technical School. In 1912 at the age of twenty four,he resigned[1] from his job and with the financial assistance of his brother he travelled to London to study at Saint Martin's School of Art,[5] during this time some of his cartoons were accepted by Punch.[3][4] Before sailing for England he exhibited his paintings and pen-and-ink works twice in Perth, the first with the West Australian Society of Arts at their 1913 Annual Exhibition, and the second in March 1914, with another Perth artist, Michael McKinlay.[1] On returning to Perth he contributed freelance drawings to the Western Mail and The Sunday Times,[4] and whilst working as a railways draftsman in 1918, he was offered a job by Ernie Brewer of Smith's Weekly at £5 a week. Cross accepted the position and moved to Sydney in 1919.[1]

On 31 July 1920 Cross' first comic strip, The Man Who Waited was published in Smith's Weekly, this was followed in the next week by the first episode of You & Me. Originally a satire featuring the characters, "Mr Pott" and "Whalesteeth", designed as a means of offering political comment. It was however quickly converted into a domestic humour strip. Cross continued to draw the weekly strip for nineteen years until he left Smith's in late December 1939 when the strip was taken over by Jim Russell in 1940 and renamed to Mr & Mrs Potts.[4]



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Alan Moir (born 1945) is an Australian caricaturist and cartoonist who was born in New Zealand. He has been the Editorial Cartoonist for theSydney Morning Herald since 1984, and previously The Bulletin and Brisbane's Courier-Mail. His work on international events is also syndicated regularly through The New York Times Syndicate.

Alan's credits include being six-time winner of "Australian Editorial Cartoonist of the Year", a Churchill Fellowship in 1999, Walkley award for Political Cartooning in 2000 and 2006 and the UN Award for Political Cartooning 2004. His work is held in several collections including the National Library of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, the National Library of New Zealand, the State Library of New South Wales, the State Library of Queensland, the State Library of Victoria, and the Private Collection of Kofi Annan (the former Secretary- General of the UN).

In 2006 during the aftermath of the Danish Prophet cartoon controversy, he was invited to the Australian Senate to give a lecture on the history of political cartooning. He has published about a dozen books of cartoons over the years, the latest being "Are We Nearly There Yet?" which is a compilation of cartoons summarising the rise and fall of Australian ex PM Kevin Rudd. He has given talks on the History of Western Political Cartooning in Sydney and Canberra, NZ (Auckland and Wellington), India (New Delhi, Trivandrum, Kochi)

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Benier: Cartoonist and painter, was born Frank Benniersic ] in Hindmarsh, SA, a fourth generation Australian of Basque extraction whose family migrated to South Australia in 1843. He signed his work 'Benier’ and always wore a basque beret in honour of his heritage, although locally born and educated. His first cartoon appeared in the Adelaide Express & Journal in September 1934, when he was 14:

“…it was just a one-line gag sort of thing and I can’t remember the exact date – but I do remember I received the princely sum of 30 bob ($3) and blew the lot on lollies.” (Quoted obituary SMH 24 October 1998, 120)

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Patrick Bruce "Pat" Oliphant (born 24 July 1935) is an Australian-American editorial cartoonist whose career spans more than fifty years. His trademark is a small penguin character named Punk, who is often seen making a comment about the subject of the panel.[1] In 1990, the New York Times described him as "the most influential editorial cartoonist now working".[2]

Oliphant's career began in 1952 as a copy boy with the Adelaide News.[1] He worked as staff cartoonist for the Adelaide Advertiser until 1964, when he moved to the United States to take up a position withThe Denver Post.[3] His strip was nationally syndicated and internationally syndicated in 1965. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1967 for his 1 February 1966 cartoon They Won't Get Us To The Conference Table ... Will They?.[4]Oliphant moved to the now defunct Washington Star for six years, until the paper folded in 1981.

Oliphant's work has appeared in several exhibitions, most notably at the National Portrait Gallery. He has also crafted a series of small sculptures based on his caricatures of various political figures, which have been displayed alongside his drawings in some exhibitions. His work is in the permanent collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe.[5]


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Cathy Wilcox (born 1963) is an Australian cartoonist and children's book illustrator, best known for her work as a cartoonist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers. She has also twice won the Australian Children's Book Council's 'Picture Book of the Year' award. In 2007 she won the Walkley Award in Cartooning for a cartoon about Sheikh Taj el-Din al Hilaly's infamous 'uncovered meat' remarks on Australian women.[1]

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more to come...

A special mention to :

Michael Leunig (born 2 June 1945), typically referred to as Leunig (his signature on his cartoons), is an Australian cartoonist, poet and cultural commentator. His best known works include The Adventures of Vasco Pyjama and the Curly Flats series. He was declared an Australian Living Treasure by theNational Trust of Australia in 1999.

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well done ...

Love Your Work Gus!!

thanks john...

 I was so excited I repeated the same posting... Never mind... I get senior moments... actually I used to get this sort of lunacy when I was already five years old to the great despair of my mother.

David Henry Souter...

David Henry Souter, painter, cartoonist, poet and journalist, was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, on 30 March 1862, son of David Henry Souter, engineer, and his wife Ann Smith, née Grant. After studying at the South Kensington Art School, London (c.1880), he joined the staff of the Aberdeen Bon Accord (Aberdeen). He spent five years working as an illustrator and journalist in Natal, South Africa (1881-85), started a paper that failed and was a colour sergeant in the Prince Alfred Guards. On 17 February 1886 at Port Elizabeth he married Jessie (Janet) Swanson (d.1931). They came to Melbourne [apparently in 1886] but had settled in Sydney in 1887 (Mills says arr. Melbourne in 1886 but had moved to Sydney by 1887). At Sydney he worked as an editor for John Sands, later for William Brooks. From 1 July 1887 (p.7), he regularly contributed cartoons to the Tribune , along with Alfred Clint (and another contributor signing “Whitstocke” in 1886, who is very similar in style to Souter & there is some speculation it could be a pseudonym). Later he was famous for his drawings of cats and for his stylish society cartoons, although this short, stocky, hard-headed Scot was said to have had few social graces himself.


1930s Souter cartoons published in Smith’s Weekly include 'Mother: “Heavens, George! The child’s swallowed the matches”./ Father: “Never mind, dear, use my cigarette-lighter” 8 February 1930. 

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Souter was one of the extremely graphic cartoonists, and one of the most precise. Unlike a Bruce Petty, who shines in the confusion of society, governments and that in our own mind, Souter expressed peculiar small anecdotes that opened a cascading wad of spine-chilling feelings. See for example this cartoon from 1915. This is a master work:




See also:

reviving the fight in the aussie press...


it is depressing...

Revisiting the cartoons on this site, yourdemocracy (YD), is quite depressing. Funny but depressing. So I went to find solace on other websites, journals, magazines and the general picture is even worse. Our masters and our media are like a bunch of wet-ones blocking their own departure through the sewers of their conceptual bullshit. Here is a pertinent view, still depressing, from abroad, published in The New Internationalist:



NI toon


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vale ron tandberg...

Ron Tandberg, whose perfect little "pocket" cartoons have been among the most loved features of The Age for the past 45 years, has died after a short battle with cancer.

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Having acquired a second-hand "best" Australian political cartoon collection of 2014 by accident, I think I rate reasonably with the average cartoonists of the times. I could be wrong but in most of those collected cartoons, Abbott is only mildly savaged and most lack what I try to instil — the sense of historical next, in which politicians will work hard to con us. The collected cartoons of 2014 tend to stay safe in showing "what happened". I try to predict the future by taking the plunge with one-sidedness on issues, especially the curly ones, like the war on Syria. One of the "professional" cartoonists' problem is that their masters won't let them publish something that could be too far away from the Main Stream narrative, especially on Syria and on some domestic issues — like possibly hurt a politician by mentioning dildos.

I must say, I read a lot and still produce a lot of crap for my advanced age. For example, I am presently reading extensively about the Thirty Year War (and its outcome) and how it impacted on local people, including the Jews. What I understand here as well is the resultant of this "old" 17th century conflict eventually led to World War II. Not that WWII (and the wars in between) was (were) necessarily going to happen but the bad way countries dealt with each others was going to lead to some major troubles. Not strangely, this helps to clearly understand the dynamics of say the Syrian conflict (since 1947) or on how an Empire can become overbearing with self-inflation, like me and my belief in my toons. The mention of WW3 can make a few people snigger but the signs are a bit too strong for my liking. We can stave it off, but the morons in Washington are a bit too moronic. Lucky, the little man in the Kremlin is super-politically intelligent and knows history far better than a US President knows how many loos there are in his New York tower.

Reading about the past in which democracy has been mucked up by mediocre ideals about hierarchy, helps me also formulate simplistic ideas that democracy should not be about the number of people having the majority view (usually the lowest denominator with pitchforks, manipulated by traditional government propaganda that includes media, religions and other artifices such as greed), but about the majority of people having the majority intelligence (that include a better understanding of sciences and of humanity and of the planet). Maybe I am deluded in this self-inflation. Is it because some of my best works on these subjects have been rejected over the years by nincompoops in charge of being out of their depth? Bitter? Me? Never! Angry. Sure.


But back to cartooning:

My own score would be:

Penmanship = 8 out 10

Laziness = 9 out 10 (I repeat things like faces a lot)

Subject lampooning =13 out of 10 because of the next item:

Rabid angry sarcasm = 145.7 out of 10

Historical sense = 1 million out of 10. So far my nose is on track. Very little of what I have said (or drawn) over the years can be "contradicted", even with a microscope. Women are allowed to interrupt anytime.


I can understand why some cartoonists do not push the full hog and try to be "balanced" and not-be-litigious. It's their bread and butter on the line. But then it could be me, who, in a flurry of anxious anger for change (improvements), misses their subtler point... But I love anxious anger in search of improvements. It keeps me positively alive...


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cartoon exhibitionism in kanbra

I was on the toilet for the regular morning dump, reading the estimable The Saturday Paper when I saw the back page. It's an advert for INKED — a cartoon exhibitionism in kanbra. Being possibly one of the oldest cartoonist (Gus has been cartooning since 1951 in Europe to carry on cartooning in this fair country since 1971 under various fake names), I would hope some rebel boffins in the exhibition offices would see this grave omission — that no Gus Leonisky's cartoon would appear on the whitewashed walls of the National Library of Australia — our recorder for eternity (read the bottom line of this site — Contributors please note that this site is archived in the National Library of Australia in perpetuity.) by default. I could be wrong though. But in the case of omission, I invite you to see all the more than 6,000 Gus cartoons on this site published since 2005. You will notice as you flick through the pages that about 400(? — I did not count them) cartoons have dropped off from the storage of the provider by accident. Go and see the exhibition though. 


toon expo

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Please note that these days — my cartooning computers having gone to graphic heaven — I can only do cartoons by cut and paste — or by drawing them with pencil, or pen and paper, or with brush and ink like I did in the 1980s... That's life...