As I worked last Father's Day, yesterday I had an opportunity to visit one of my daughters (and her husband and daughters) and belatedly 'celebrated' the day. They live about a couple of hours north of my home in Margate, and it is always a pleasure to catch up with them. The trip home always evokes a lot of memories of days gone by (for more reason than I need to go into here). Some thoughts that filter through my mind include recollections of no less than three Australian cartoonists that live or lived and left a mark in their local communities.
Doug Tainsh moved to Noosaville in about 1970. Although born in Sydney on 13 June 1921 to a poet father and photographer mother - is it any wonder he would follow a creative muse? - Doug actually grew up in Melbourne. He joined the AIF and served in Borneo during World War II. He returned to Melbourne to study at the National Gallery of Victoria. It was here he met his wife Alice. Besides his well-known weekly cartoon about an Australian Swaggie Cedric (a sample is shown above), which appeared in the Australasian Post for many years, Doug was also a well-regarded television writer. He was credited with many episodes of police dramas, including Homicide and Division 4. I met Doug only on a couple of occasions (when attending the local Queensland chapter of the Australian Black and White Artists' Club) and found him to be most gregarious. It was only after he passed away (in March 2004) that I learnt that he also wrote comedy gags for greats such as Maurie Fields and Spike Milligan.
Ken Maynard was another Australian cartoonist who submitted his cartoon (initially called Ned and his Neddy) to the weekly Australasian Post. Ken was born in the country town of Albury, New South Wales in 1928. Ken spent many years working as a Victorian police officer, and first submitted his cartoons to the magazine in the 1950s. The cartoon - eventually named the 'Ettamogah Pub' - was very popular, and related gags with an Australian humour that centred around drinking. It was an integral part of the Post until the magazine folded. I only met Ken once: he was a quietly spoken man. It was said that he was not a financially astute man: he allowed his creation to be used to create a chain of pubs based on his cartoon. I am not sure if he was financially compensated for this. Ken retired from the police force and moved to the Gold Coast, where he died in September 1998. The Ettamogah Pub is now a well-known landmark on the main highway to the Sunshine Coast, and some of Ken's original cartoons can be viewed inside the building.
Ken Dove is another cartoonist from this region of Australia and yet another who has had his cartoons published in the Australasian Post! I do not know when or where Ken was born. I do know he started late in the cartooning game! He worked for The Gympie Times, submitting a weekly cartoon to the newspaper for about 15 years (1982 to 1997). Ken also worked at Aussie World (funnily enough, literally just up the road from the Ettamogah Pub!). From 1989 to 2007 Ken reportedly drew 64,000 caricatures!
I have known Ken personally for almost 30 years; he is one of the kindest and most compassionate of men - and so remarkably talented. Many years ago he offered me some sage advice (that I chose to ignore). Ah, hindsight: it is a wonderful thing! But it is advice that I follow to this day: "Never take yourself too seriously".
In 1982 I published a comic anthology ('The Australian Comics Group') and was planning a second edition. (One day I shall have to talk about why it never came out.) Ken illustrated a super hero story that I had written ('Hero Australia'). I was going to enclose a page here, but I seem to have temporarily misplaced it. Instead, I shall enclose a copy of a caricature he did of me in 1993. I still love this illustration! With the upcoming Ned Kelly book, I was going to include a photo of myself within the book. However, when it came to choosing one I found there was not one that (I thought) carried my essence as much as Ken's illustration!
Ken now lives in retirement, with his wife Joy in Buderim. If you would like to learn more about Ken, please Click
Comicoz is Nat Karmichael's publishing imprint. Nat is committed to preserving a permanent collection of Australian comic and comic strips. He feels that there is a need to recognise comics' contribution to and depiction of Australian culture.
Since 2011, Nat has self-published over twelve comic-related books and was Publisher-Editor of
Oi Oi Oi! -- the last series of nationally-distributed comic books of original stories to appear on Australian newsstands. He is a member of the Australian Cartoonists Association and edited the Association's journal Inkspot for 14 issues from late 2015. For numerous years he was the Lead Judge in the Ledger of Honour Awards for the Comic Arts Awards of Australia (formerly the Ledgers). These days Nat dreams of retiring from his occupation as a Clinical Nurse in the Psychiatric Emergency Centre in Queensland's largest public hospital, so that he can spend more time with his long-suffering wife and their six children and fourteen grandchildren. And perhaps publish some more comic-related books.
Comicoz acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay respects to elders, past, present, and emerging, and extend that respect to all First Nations peoples.
Australian Publications since 1976:
1 x Poster
19 x comics (one a co-production with Cyclone Comics in 1988/9, one a co-production with Cowtown Comics in 2022)
2 x Paperback books
10 x Hardcover books