The Australian Political Cartoon: An Historigraphical Overview

Richard Scully, Robert Phiddian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is a commonplace of much political and journalistic rhetoric that Australia as a nation possesses a "great tradition of cartooning and illustration" (NMA, 2003) as social and political commentary. One of the few authors to tackle the whole history of Australian cartooning -- Vane Lindesay -- certainly thought so, when he observed a distinctive '" Australian School' of black­ and-white comic art" that had made Australia "an important world center" of graphic humor (1970: 1). Himself a cartoonist, he saw in the "often wry, sometimes uninhibited, and always distinctive" sense of humor expressed in cartoons something uniquely Australian (2); something just as important for understanding the national character as other aspects of what Russel Ward had termed The Australian Legend (1958). Indeed, it has been said that "Australians often congratulate themselves for having the best cartoonists in the world" (Phiddian and Manning, 2013: 7), and that Australians have a special appetite for political satire in graphic form.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-383
Number of pages17
JournalIJOCA: International Journal of Comic Art
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • political cartoons
  • Australian politics
  • political commentary
  • social commentary
  • comic art
  • Graphic humor


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