The Transnational World of Australian Radical and Labour Cartoonists
Nick Dyrenfurth, University of Sydney
This chapter considers the transnational world of early Australian radical and labour cartoonists, focussing upon the work of well-known artists Phil May, Livingstone Hopkins, Montagu Scott, Claude Marquet, Jim Case and Will Dyson. Political cartooning constituted a vitally important element of the cultural politics of the early Australian labour movement. However, most historians have assumed that the visual evidence of this period was merely confirmation of an existing or latent working-class consciousness, rather than understanding the role of iconic representation in the making of class identities in the first place. Herein we have two major concerns. Firstly we will show how Australian cartoonists drew on their Anglo-American backgrounds and the parallel overseas activities of the day. Secondly, in this context, we will explore the nature and purpose of their collective project, one that created a populist narrative of ‘heroes and villains’ for political Labor: villainous capitalistic ‘Fat Men’ battled it out against heroic male ‘workers’ and a more collective vision of ‘the People’.
Introduction: ‘Keen Satire Instruction on All the Vital Questions’
On 23 May 1903, the Queensland Worker’s veteran cartoonist Montagu ‘Monty’ Scott pictured the male icons of ‘Labour’ and ‘Capital’ engaged in a life and death struggle ‘All the world over’ (Figure 6.1).1 The stalwart labourite wields the weapon of the ‘strike’ against a villainous ‘Mr Fat Man’ figure, here represented as an imperialistic ‘John Bull’ who grips the ugly club of the ‘Money Power’. For all the familiarity of this class iconography, in 1903 Scott’s ‘internationalist’ vision of heroes and villains was a new and, in some ways, a distinctively Australian ‘invented tradition’.2 As an idealisation of transnational worker solidarity it was limited by race; like all the cartoonists of our study Scott took as his hero the white male worker. In a 1920 book celebrating the life’s work of an artist we discuss later, a trade union official thus paid tribute to his ‘mate’: ‘Good-bye Claude Marquet, Artist, Laborite and Friend; you were a white man all through.’3 And clearly labourite representations were also limited by gender. Eric Hobsbawm has noted of labour and socialist iconography at this period that ‘the working woman proletarian is not much represented by artists, outside the few industries that were predominantly female’.4 There is much more to be written about the uses that labour cartoonists made of the female figure and indeed of race, but here we focus on their making of manliness in a heterosexual and white racialist context.
In 1906 Scott presented a more harmonious image of international labour. He criticised the dominant imperial mode of Australian internationalism in an ‘Empire Day’ image celebrating not the British Empire but the global trend towards ‘International Socialism’. Conventional male and female figures representing the world powers – here co-opted to represent national labour movements – gather under the flag of ‘International Socialism’, with the centrally figured Australian ‘bush’ labourer bearing the flag ‘Workers of the World Unite’ (Figure 6.2).5 The image is redolent of the agrarian, pre-capitalist utopias pictured for the new socialist movement in England by William Morris and Walter Crane.6 As such, it sat more comfortably with the ethical assumptions of Australian socialism than Scott’s violent image of striking unionism opposed to global ‘money power’. Such militancy did not generally characterise the early Australian labour movement. Whilst several major strikes had rocked Australia during the 1890s, and the year 1903 witnessed a bitter strike of Victorian railway workers, trade unionists and socialists generally sought social change via political and gradualist means: ‘The ballot is the thing’, according to one contemporary.7
By the end of the 1890s the Australian Labor Party’s commitment to parliamentarianism, and its electoral progress, were unparalleled. Andy Dawson’s short-lived Queensland ministry of 1899 was the world’s first social democratic/labour party government. In 1903 Labor held the balance of power in the federal parliament, as it did in several state parliaments. During the next year it become the first party of its type to form national government (albeit a minority one) anywhere in the world. When it did so again across 1908–09 it prompted the so-called ‘grandfather’ of the labour movement, unionist and politician W.G. Spence, to declare it the ‘almost dominant factor in the political life of the community’.8 And in 1910 Labor took office in its own right, capturing both houses of parliament, again a world first.
Spence well understood that Labor’s electoral success entailed more than winning ballots. As he insisted, ‘The Labor Movement in Australia is a political as well as a propagandist movement. Its leaders realise that before we can have social reform the people must be educated to demand and carry out such reforms’.9 As we shall show, the agents of this education included Scott and, in time, others like Marquet. H.E. Boote, the editor at the Australian Worker (1914–43) wrote of his star cartoonist: ‘[E]very week tens of thousands of men and women … derived from [his] vivid imagery … keen satire instruction on all the vital questions’.10 We will explore the nature and purpose of this collective ‘instruction’. At its heart was a populist narrative of ‘heroes and villains’ created for political Labor: villainous capitalistic ‘Fat Men’ battled it out against heroic male ‘workers’ and a more collective vision of ‘the People’. We conclude that whilst their primary political context was national, the world of international cartooning provided a pool of iconic and stylistic models which the Australians both drew upon and contributed to. And Australian cartooning shared the cultural preoccupations of the day, including a new appreciation of the political possibilities of working class ‘manhood’.
Our chapter then is situated within the burgeoning field of cross-national, comparative labour history. In particular we follow the lead of Neville Kirk’s excellent recent study, Comrades and Cousins: Globalization, Workers and Labour Movements in Britain, the USA and Australia. Kirk examines the linkages and the similarities and differences between the late nineteenth and early twentieth century labour movements of the three Anglo-American democracies of Britain, the USA and Australia.11 We too are interested in this critical period of working class mobilisation and, indeed, in this early phase of globalisation. In the late nineteenth century, capital was increasingly global in its ambition and reach: not only did it seek out new markets but also sources of cheap labour. National labour movements reacted to and within this paradigm.12
Transnational and comparative labour history offer new possibilities for understanding crosscultural transfers between nation states and national labour movements. In a recent article Berger and Patmore put it thus: ‘Insofar as there are national labour movements, they are constituted through a dialectical process through which indigenous and foreign elements are selectively appropriated … and adapted’.13 The transnational world of labour and radical cartoonists is a classic case in point although it constitutes an entirely neglected field of historical enquiry. Moreover, most historians have assumed that the visual evidence of this period was merely confirmation of an existing or latent working class or labour consciousness, rather than understanding the role of iconic representation in the ‘making’ of class.14 Thus, in comparative mode we will raise questions about the parallel development of class icons in the cartoon traditions of Australia, Britain and America.
A detailed discussion of the thorny topic of class consciousness is beyond the bounds of this study. We do not postulate ‘normal’ kinds, stages and routes of working class consciousness and labour movement development. Nonetheless as Kirk suggests we can observe general patterns both within and across Britain, the USA and Australia: from the late 1860s and 1870s onwards the emergence of modern and increasingly centralised labour and socialist movements. Mass, industry-wide unions – often described as ‘New Unionism’ – and nationally-constituted labour organisations were a phenomenon in each country, though developing in different ways, and least visible in the USA, at least before the 1930s.
During 1881 Britain saw the formation of the Democratic Federation (later Social Democratic Federation) and the socialist Fabian Society in 1884. The American Federation of Labor (ALF) was begun in 1886, whilst the American Knights of Labor witnessed exceptional short-term growth around the same period. In Australia peak union (labour) bodies developed at a state level from the 1870s onwards. Socialists were active in the formation of the state political (Labor) parties that emerged in the early 1890s. Eventually the Australian Worker’s Union became the dominant force within both industrial and political wings of the movement.15
Although Britain’s was the premier nineteenth century labour movement it was Australia who led the way in terms of independent labour party politics during the early twentieth century. America, despite the gains of the Socialist Party between 1901 and the First World War, was clearly the weakest of the three movements.16 Ultimately no independent labour party was created by the mainstream US trade union movement. In Britain the Independent Labour Party was born in 1893 but achieved little electoral success. It became an affiliate, in 1906, to the newly formed Labour Party. Yet it took until 1924 for Ramsay MacDonald to form the first Labour government, one that would collapse after only nine months. By this time Australian Labor had already formed national government on four separate occasions and held office in every state.
Why did Australian Labor lead the world in this period? Explanations have pointed to unique socio-economic conditions, the hegemony of liberal ideas over conservatism, relatively progressive electoral laws and payment of parliamentary members, together with Labor’s dense industrial and political organisation, something reflected by its strong performance in rural electorates.17 The strength of the union movement nationwide supported the growth of a strong labour press by 1910, some years before parallel developments in Britain and the USA. These union papers were the site of a vibrant labourist political culture, marked by a distinctive language and iconography. The role of the Australian labour press and necessarily that of its cartoonists must be taken seriously when we consider the movement’s electoral success. At the heart of this emerging political culture was a careful balancing act between an appeal to its working class base and the cultivation of a wider populist voting public. We now turn to the visual icons carrying this culture.
Before the 1880s Australian illustrated newspapers catered almost exclusively for a middle class readership and were generally conservative – certainly in regards to capital-labour relations – and, for the most part, their cartoonists toed the editorial line. Australian cartooning was largely imitative of London Punch, both in style and in content.18 Melbourne Punch cartoonists’ sarcastic imagery of ‘King Working-Man’ during the 1880s and ’90s portrayed the growing trade union movement as an oafish bully of both big business and ordinary workers, willing to ruin the country to achieve his own selfishly sectional interests.19 A similar trend is to be found in America is explored further below.’
Melbourne Punch and its look-alikes in the other colonies rarely drew a favourable picture of the working man. One instance of approval came in the late 1870s. In the context of a tumultuous maritime strike in which the eventually successful unions drew on the strength of rising anti-Chinese feeling in Eastern Australia, an 1878 Sydney Punch series illustrated the cross-class perniciousness of the Chinese. Chinese men are portrayed as opium smokers and sources of cheap labour, and white working men are pictured as heroes violently confronting a pig-tailed Chinese man (‘The way to treat any China-man you may meet on the pavement’) and chasing the Chinese back ‘To China’.20 The series clearly draws upon American models – and indeed the discourse mirrored the Californian demands that the ‘Chinese must go’ – such as the virulently anti-Chinese work of G. Frederick Keller in the San Francisco Wasp.21 On the 8 December 1877, Wasp celebrated the white American workingmen striking ‘the first blow at the Chinese question’, in a very similar scene.22 In a context in which the Chinese were overwhelmingly viewed as a cancerous vice afflicting these two New World societies, working-class racism was to be applauded.
The beginnings of an independent labourist cultural politics first appear in 1880s Australia. In this decade radical but non-labour newspapers such as the Sydney Bulletin (1880) and the Queensland Boomerang (1887) began publication. Cartooning was central to their popular appeal. This development was paralleled in the United States with the appearance of satirical journals like Puck Magazine and The Judge. In Australia the national popularity of the radical journals fostered and was fostered by a rising nationalist and republican ethos, and of course by the growth of the labour movement.
Ironically the creation of a distinctively pro-labour, radical Australian style was driven by the recruitment to the Bulletin of overseas artists Livingstone ‘Hop’ Hopkins and ‘Phil’ May. A Union private in the American Civil War, the Ohio-born Hopkins had worked for the Daily Graphic, New York’s first illustrated newspaper, before transferring to Puck Magazine and later to Judge.23 Generally known as ‘Hop’, he became the Bulletin’s chief cartoonist in 1883. May, born near Leeds, achieved a small measure of fame drawing for St. Stephen’s Review in London, before accepting a post with the Bulletin in 1886.24 The new recruits brought with them a keen sense of shifting social relations and political transformations, and, most importantly, new stylistic models that well suited Australian conditions.25
The point can be made by discussing the Australian evolution of the capitalist ‘Mr Fat Man’, or in cartooning idiom, ‘Fat’. Fat Man – a depiction of Capital as a grossly overweight, tophatted older man, often with spats and morning coat, and occasionally with cigar in hand – made his first Australian appearances in the Bulletin during 1886–7, courtesy of Phil May. A 21-yearold May had first drawn a bullying Fat Man lording it over a child boot-polisher for St. Stephen’s Review in January 1885, an image more moral than overtly political.26 Once in Australia, May’s depiction shifted to reflect local realities. Commenting on a successful strike of wharf-labourers in Melbourne, in January 1886 May mocked the defeated shipowners by picturing a autocratic, paunchy capitalist – overtly labelled as such in the cartoon’s caption – who is blind to labour’s newfound independence (Figure 6.3).27
In 1887 May pictured Fat Man more generically in his sketch of ‘Poverty and Wealth: it all depends on the position of the bundle’; again the caption uses the terms ‘labour’ and ‘capital’ (Figure 6.4).28 This witty image clearly draws on the New York Life’s sketch of the same year, ‘The Difference Between Labor and Capital’ (Figure 6.5).29 The visual idea and the comic point (the position of the bundle – Capital’s bloated stomach matches Labor’s sack) are identical in the two sketches, though subtle differences reflect the different material relations of labour in the two democracies: the American worker is black, and despite the verbal content of the captions, more clearly poverty-stricken; the white Australian worker is less cowed by his burden.30 The language of ‘capital and labour’ was in the public ear in Australia in 1886. Bruce Smith, the leader of the recalcitrant shipowners, complained to Melbourne’s conservative Argus newspaper that
Men who organised ‘labour against capital’ will have their names handed down with honour amongst the working classes … [but] the unfortunate individual … organising ‘capital against labour’, must be abused and threatened with financial ruin.31
In Phil May’s London this abstracted political reading of ‘Fat’ was uncommon. The patent greed of the fatmen featured in English cartoons was morally rather than politically reprehensible, and individual fatmen were identified not as generic capitalists but as landlords or profiteers, as in John Tenniel’s oppressive rent-collector in the 1883 London Punch (Figure 6.6).32 Note too the absolute helplessness of the oppressed.
American cartoonists tended to aim at more specifically political targets; Hess and Kaplan, authors of A History of American Political Cartoons, describe their subjects as ‘instinctively political and generally blessed with an appreciation of the ridiculous’.33 Thomas Nast, the first great American cartoonist (and the subject of Fiona Halloran’s chapter in this volume), laid the foundations for an American Fat Man with his merciless drawings of a hugely fat ‘Boss’ Tweed as the thuggish and corrupt boss of New York’s Tammany Hall in the pages of Harper’s Weekly during the early 1870s.34 His cartoons famously drove Tweed to exclaim: ‘Stop them damned pictures. I don’t care so much what the papers say about me. My constituents can’t read. But, damn it, they can see pictures’!35 Nast set the pattern for images of Fat which linked economic power to undue or corrupt political influence.36 In the 1880s cartoonists for radical journals like Puck developed more generically oppressive fatmen. In 1883 a famous Puck cartoon by Bernhard Gillam damned a series of greedy, corpulent ‘Fat’ monopolists as burdening workers and consumers alike (Figure 6.7).37
In 1889 Samuel Ehrhardt presented a more complex reading of power and economics. His ‘History repeats itself: The Robber Barons of the Middle Ages and the Robber Barons of Today’ took aim at ‘Monopoly’, its relationship to tariff protection, and its effect on ‘the people’: middle class citizens/businessmen, small farmers and wage-earners all lay down their riches for the benefit of the trusts (Figure 6.8).38 Again the workers are presented as utterly powerless.
Gillam and Erhardt’s employer, Puck’s owner and editor Joseph Keppler, was himself a cartoonist with a cutting pen and a particular hatred of monopolies. Like Nast, Keppler was no labour partisan; big unions were as often the target of his populist politics as was big business. It is Keppler who best expresses American cartoonist’s fascination with the ‘trusts’: gargantuan, pigsnouted figures who oppressed the ‘little man’.39 Keppler’s ‘Bosses of the Senate’ (Figure 6.9) is the most memorable of his anti-trust cartoons: the ranks of ‘money bags’ signify the all-powerful ‘Trusts’ who watch over senate proceedings under the motto, ‘This is a Senate of the Monopolists, By the Monopolists, For the Monopolists’.40 It should be clear then that Keppler’s campaign against the trusts was not one against American capitalism per se, but his villainous creation would come to have a life of its own.
As we shall see, Australian cartoonists were to borrow freely from the stock of images provided by Puck and other radical American journals, both visually and in terms of the concepts that they signified. For the cartoonists of the Bulletin the most immediately useful model may have been that supplied by James Wales, who worked with Keppler on Puck and founded the rival journal Judge. Wales’s visual argument blamed rising conflict on the shared will to dominate of both employers and workers (variously labelled as ‘Monopoly’ and ‘Socialism’, and ‘Capital’ and ‘Labor’), and advocated arbitration as the solution.41 Wales’ employer figure is no monstrous Fat Man, being little more than stout, and his worker is sturdy, muscular, and potentially honourable. In his cartoon ‘The law of arbitration for the quarrelling giants’, ‘Labor’ and ‘Capital’ lay aside their weapons (‘Monopoly’ and ‘Strikes’) to study ‘A Bill to Establish Arbitration in Disputes Between Corporations and their Employees’ (Figure 6.10).42 It is likely that Livingstone Hopkins carried a memory of this honest working man with him to Australia.
The year 1890 marked a significant shift in the iconography of capital and labour in Australia and the beginnings of an antipodean departure from the dominant English and American models. In August 1890 the misnamed Australasian maritime strike – which drew in some 50,000 workers, including shearers and miners, from across the Australian colonies and New Zealand – shook Australian society. The strike broke out on 15 August when shipowners refused to allow the Maritime Officers to affiliate to the Melbourne Trades Hall Council; but rapidly became a wider conflict pitting the principle of unionism against the employer’s ‘freedom of contract’.
The Bulletin’s eye-catching cover carried Hop’s ‘The Labour Crisis’, picturing ‘Capital’ and ‘Labor’ confronting each other in the strike’s opening phases (Figure 6.11).43 The two men stand on a narrow plank above a wide canyon, with Fat Man arrogantly proposing: ‘See here my man, one of us must either go back, or else lie down and let the other walk over him. Now, which of us shall it be?’ Hop’s dramatic caption adds: ‘And that is now the Question’. Following the James Wales tradition Hop’s Capital and Labor appear equally matched, despite Hop’s clear sympathies: Labor is a trim, manly rural worker, set against an obese, bullying employer with the accent of a British imperialist.
Three weeks later a Victorian-born cartoonist followed Hopkin’s lead in the radical Melbourne journal the Bull Ant – a less successful version of the Bulletin. Like many of the early Australian cartoonists Tom Durkin was apprenticed in the printing trade, in his case as an engraver, and took up work as an illustrator in the 1880s.44 Durkin’s reading of the clash between capital and labour (described here as ‘Employers’ Association’ and ‘Trade Unions’) was as much moral as political. His ‘Great Boxing Contest Between Idleness and Industry’ (Figure 6.12) sets a manly young worker against an ageing, unfit, and unscrupulous employer.45 Physically outweighed, the red-nosed employer attempts to shackle his opponent with ‘Employers’ Monopolies’: ‘Here, tie your hands behind you with this, and I’ll fight you’!
Historians of Australia have long celebrated the force of Hop’s image as presaging a new understanding of the relations between employers and employees; indeed a new balance of social and political forces. They have not appreciated the originality of this image internationally; as we have seen ‘workers as heroes’ rarely appear in British and American cartoons of the period. Still the immediate impact of the image in Australia should not be overestimated. Another Hop image a week later, ‘The Strikes’, is closer to the Puck tradition of apoliticalism – a middle-class citizen rebukes the surly, squabbling pair of Capital and Labour.46 And the tradition of picturing worker figures as humble victims does not die away, even in publications sympathetic to labour, such as the Victorian socialist papers Commonweal and Champion. Thus an Ambrose Dyson cartoon in the 1895 Champion damns ‘Our Industrial System’ (Figure 6.13) by picturing a hapless worker about to be crushed by the devilish figure of ‘Capitalism’.47
By 1895 that image carried real force. After the first flush of optimism in 1890 the strikers and their unions were humiliated by the employers’ associations, and humiliated again during the bitter Queensland Shearers’ Strikes of 1891 and 1894, in every case with the assistance of colonial parliaments and colonial troops. These industrial defeats were compounded by the effects of the world Depression of 1891–2, which fell with particular force on Australia’s comprador colonial economies; in the capital cities more than a third of the workforce was unemployed. Union membership plummeted; the new national unions remained only as shells, and even the craft-based Trades Halls closed in some cities.48
But new and renewed organisations grew out of the embers: metropolitan labour leagues dedicated to returning Labor members to the colonial parliaments; mass unions embracing all the workers in a single, often rural industry; and union papers like the Wagga Wagga-published Hummer, Queensland and Sydney Worker and the Melbourne-based Tocsin. Cartoonists and illustrators for these papers embraced the image of worker as hero, often with a new emphasis on the heroic qualities of his body. Thus in 1897 Lionel Lindsay decorated the editorial page of Tocsin with an image of ‘Gavah the Blacksmith’ in which the light of the forge displays his muscular arms and chest (Figure 6.14).49 Monty Scott pictured Queensland Labor wrestling with an obese Fat Man during the lead-up to the 1902 state election (Figure 6.15).50And in 1903 Claude Marquet filled a double spread of a special election issue of Tocsin with images of almost naked giants leading the forces of democratic reform (Figure 6.16).51
In an article in the late 1970s, Eric Hobsbawm noted the appearance in socialist iconography at this period of what he called the ‘topless young man’: ‘the powerful figure of a masculine labourer, swinging hammer or pick and naked to the waist’. He observed that this representation of the male worker is unrealistic in two ways. Firstly, late nineteenth century workers did not usually labour unclothed. Secondly, ‘the image of nakedness is unrealistic because it almost certainly excluded the vast body of skilled and factory workers, who … formed the bulk of the labour movement’.52 Certainly in Victoria Tocsin’s choice of the blacksmith beating out the weapons of revolution bore no relationship to the realities of the local workforce, where skilled manual labour was in retreat before new machinery and piecework. Rather, ‘Gavah the Blacksmith’ and the heroic giants of Marquet and Scott were intended to inspire.53
The muscles of these heroes also carried a more specific ideological message: that union is strength. As Hobsbawm comments in relation to Europe, the shock value of nakedness was something well-suited to the social and political aims of the labour and socialist movements of the fin de siecle period, as cultural change and the desire for social and political reform conjoined. The figure of the naked male signified the radicalness, the legitimacy and the force of their claims.54 Monty Scott’s Queensland Worker image of a handsome, muscled unionist, ‘The bundle of sticks’ (Figure 6.17), provides a classic example: the semi-naked male signifies purity of purpose, whilst illuminating the core strategy and purpose of the labour movement: solidarity and egalitarianism.55
The Golden Age of Labour Cartooning
In the last two decades historians of public culture have read Hobsbawm’s idealised socialist body as a cultural artefact with a much broader application. Historians have shown how from the 1890s public culture in the Anglo-European world turned from shame and concealment of the masculine body to its celebration and display, in military drills, bodybuilding classes and stage shows like those of the ‘Perfect Man’ Sandow and his imitators.56 European and American scholars like Mosse, Boscagli and Tamar have read this shift in class terms, as a co-option by the bourgeoisie of muscular proletarian styles of masculinity. But as we have shown, in Australia the ideal male body was equally available to working-class intellectuals; the well muscled back, broad chest, taut buttocks and strong legs of the classical ideal were called into play to create the working-class hero.
In 1903 Eugene Sandow, body-builder and prophet of eugenics, drew packed audiences across Australia – as he had done in Britain and America – to a stage show celebrating his classically modelled body and perfect muscular control.57 His muscles and his message of personal perfection dominated the local press, and labour cartoonists across Australia were inspired to turn his iconic body to good political purpose. Marquet’s giant, double page figures in Tocsin’s election supplement of late 1903 drew on the ‘statuesque’ part of Sandow’s performance, where he posed unmoving and almost naked in quasi-classical mode (Figure 6.18).58 Con Strachan presented a series of cartoons in the Westralian Worker in which the strapping figure of ‘Labor’ took up ‘poses’ virtually identical to Sandow’s ‘moving images’ (Figure 6.19).59
This triumphant exhibition of labourite muscle in cartoons from Kalgoorlie to Queensland turned, of course, on the success of the labour papers which carried them on their front pages – a success which both reflected and promoted the fortunes of the unions associated with these papers. The decade before the First World War was the golden age of the labour press. Across Australia radical journals were replaced by union-based papers with a mass working-class readership: Labor Call in Melbourne, the Australian Worker (from 1913) in Sydney, the Westralian Worker in Perth, and in Brisbane the original Worker went from strength to strength.60 Montagu (Monty) Scott captured the importance of union support to the labour press in his 1894 cartoon celebrating ‘The Birth of the Worker’ in which a young woman representing ‘Unionism’ mothers the infant newspaper.61 As the labour papers prospered they appointed staff cartoonists: Monty Scott at the Brisbane Worker, and Claude Marquet at the Australian Worker in Sydney. The two men came from different backgrounds culturally and aesthetically, but the decade before the war sees a striking congruence in their themes and iconic practice – a coming together which, we will argue, reflects both the force of local and international models, and the coherence at this moment in time of the political project of Australian labourism.
Eugene Montagu Scott was a generation older than Claude Marquet. Scott was born in London in 1835, the son of an artist.62 He migrated to Australia in the 1850s, and established himself as a photographer, cartoonist and illustrator, selling drawings of ‘rugged outdoor scenes, formal functions and public personalities’ to the illustrated weeklies, and publishing apolitical cartoons in Melbourne and Sydney Punch. From 1880 his cartoons for the Bulletin became more critical of social injustice. In 1888 he came under the spell of the radical journalist and editor William Lane and produced some fiery denunciations of the immorality of wealth for Lane’s Boomerang.63 His readings often turned on issues of masculinity; thus in 1889 Scott showed an abject worker shining the shoes of an arrogant member of the ruling class, capturing the degradation of manhood that Lane was articulating in his populist editorialising against capitalism (Figure 6.20).64 But in the 1890s, armed with Hop’s heroic worker and, importantly, the unambiguously pro-labour line run in the Worker, Scott began to develop the classic labour story of heroes and villains. In the Queensland Worker Scott applied the new dichotomous logic to every aspect of his political and social commentary: in virtually every cartoon he pens during the 1890s villainous and bloated capitalists, middlemen, parliamentary ‘boodlers’ are set against a manly rural worker who variously signifies the political and industrial wings of the fledgling labour movement. Fat Man appears as the generic exploiter of the workers, as a ‘middleman’ oppressing small farmers and consumers, a Boer War imperialist, and even as a dubious booster of Australian federation.65
And Scott’s worker is always muscular, manly and heroic, even under great burdens; see for example his Labour ‘Atlas’ carrying a world ruled by the capitalists (Figure 6.21).66 But Scott also made a hero of another labourite, the worker’s budding parliamentary representative. It was the optimistic belief of many of Scott’s contemporaries that through such endeavours ‘Socialism in Our Time’ could be won – indeed this was the Queensland Worker’s long-running editorial motto.67 His commentary on the 1893 Queensland elections, ‘Falstaff Up To Date’ (Figure 6.22), a take on Shakespeare’s Sir John Falstaff, portrays the newly elected Queensland Labor Members dressed as stage outlaws advancing upon a ‘Fat Man’ Premier Thomas McIlwraith (‘Falstaffilwraith’). The populist, racialist and often conspiratorial beliefs that characterised the ideology of the early Australian labour movement are encapsulated by the banner of Laborites – ‘Advance White Queensland: Justice for the People’ – whilst an otherwise frail McIlwraith is protected by the powerful shield of the ‘Banks’, what labourites considered to be the shadowy power of the ‘Money Power’.68
By 1906 Claude Marquet was telling much the same story in the Sydney Worker (from 1913 the Australian Worker), although after federation his Laborites are now nation-building heroes. Marquet came more directly to labour cartooning than did Scott. Born in 1869 in a mining town in South Australia to a father described on his birth certificate as ‘house painter’, Marquet’s first job was as a labourer in the mines, but after an apprenticeship as a printer and compositor he taught himself the skills of black and white drawing.69 While still working as a printer he contributed cartoons to radical journals in Adelaide and Melbourne, including as we have seen Tocsin, and in 1906 was appointed as a staff cartoonist by the Sydney Worker. Like Scott’s move to Brisbane, Marquet’s move to Sydney entailed a change of style. The beautiful near-naked heroes featured in his Melbourne cartoons were replaced by sturdy labourers dressed in the rural style in open-necked shirts and jeans or moleskins.70 Like Scott’s heroes they represent aspects of industrial or political labour, or as here, ‘Democracy’ identified with ‘the Labor Vote’ (Figure 6.23) – a populist conflation of working class politics with nationalism which was becoming central to the Australian Labor Party’s increasingly successful appeal to the electorate.71
Marquet’s manly young heroes are also notably respectable. Here too he follows Scott’s lead. Both cartoonists reflected the values of the mostly rural unionists who backed the Worker newspapers, and both drew on a patriarchal gender order to make their moral judgements, providing a heroine to confirm Labour’s manliness.72 Both indulged in what can only be called sentimentality. See for example Scott’s 1904 cartoon ‘What Eight Hour Day Means’, in which a demure ‘Leisure’ pledges her troth with a bowyanged ‘Industry’ (Figure 6.24).73 Marquet gave a more political reading of the same theme in a December 1908 image showing Australia and Labor (as newly sworn-in Labor Prime Minister Andrew Fisher) as a courting couple gazing into the rising sun of 1909, with its promise of labour and national legislation, while Fat Man (as ‘Capitalistic Greed’) scuttles away with the words ‘Great Pluto, I’m jilted’ (Figure 6.25).74
Fat Man continues to play his part as the ubiquitous villain of labour’s populist romance, sometimes in villainous company. Marquet’s ‘Demo’ figure confronts a typical range of villains: Fat Man as ‘Capitalism’ in the aristocratic top-hat, Fat Man as ‘Landlordism’ in spats and checked pants, and others including a Jewish ‘Usury’. In this Marquet followed the pattern set by Monty Scott, and originally by the Puck cartoonists with their ranks of bloated fatmen. Scott’s villains cultivated this same populist constituency; see for example his 1894 cartoon ‘The Loaves and Fishes’ (Figure 6.26). It shows three Fat Men – a possibly Irish Rent, a very Jewish Interest and perhaps a British Profit – mocking the ‘producers’ in a practical act of capitalistic ‘robbery’.75 And it was via this populist trope, both visual and verbal, that ideas of socialism were transmitted to Australian society. ‘Socialism’, in William Lane’s famous words, ‘was being mates’. Clearly, such populist politicking was often racist and exclusivist – not everyone could be ‘mates’ when the plot required an enemy.
Fat Man could also morph into a monster. This imaginative act happens across the British-American world, and it is difficult to trace specific influences. The octopus was a favourite symbol of conspiratorial power in the American populist imagination.76 Udo J. Keppler’s striking image ‘Next’, from September 1904, showed the wealthy businessman J.D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company as an octopus with its tentacles wrapped around the steel, copper, and shipping industries, as well as a state house, the U.S. Capitol, and one tentacle reaching for the White House (Figure 6.27).77 Keppler’s vigorous image may have influenced Marquet’s November 1904 cartoon of American tobacco trusts (‘Greed’ – Figure 6.28) as an octopus strangling factory hands, retailers and consumers in North America, destroying a planter in South America, and reaching ominously towards an Australian hero armed with the sword of ‘Nationalisation’.78 Again the Australian worker/citizen is upright and manly, armed as he is with a political weapon.
Marquet’s imagination was particularly fertile in the making of monsters; in the years after 1900 he pictured mineowners as a flesheating manticore, state legislative councils as a hydra, and in an example with particular local resonance, landlords and ‘food rings’ as top-hatted sharks threatening a stalwart worker/householder who barely keeps them at bay by feeding them his wages (Figure 6.29).79 No peril can deter Marquet’s heroes. In a memorable image from 1907 he rolled all the everyday monopolies – coal, bricks, oil, tobacco, milk, confectionary – into a dragonish serpent and set his worker hero to rescue its immediate victim, Fat Man as a small tradesman who ‘now looks to the Labor Party to deliver him from the very monster he created by his Anti-Socialist vote’ (Figure 6.30).80
Conclusion: ‘Now or Never’
The figure of ‘Labor/Labour’ developed by Australian cartoonists in the decades before the First World War was constant in his physical characteristics – manly bearing, straight back, broad chest and shoulders, flat stomach and tight buttocks – and protean in his meanings. He centrally represented both wings of the labour movement, industrial Labour and political Labor, but his application could be much broader. As we have seen he could stand for the generic worker, the consumer, and the citizen – in sum the cross-class, populist constituency of ‘the People’. He embodied ‘the Labor vote’, ‘Democracy’, and sometimes ‘Australia’ embossed with the ‘Southern Cross’ – though more often his task was to defend a female nation. In all of these roles he is a didact educating the political sensibilities of the Australian working class, and at his most successful, the Australian electorate.
Less often he stood for that still broader constituency glimpsed by Monty Scott in his 1903 image ‘All the World Over’ – for the workers of the world, bravely confronting the tyranny of world capitalism. While it will take much transnational research to confirm this, we suggest that before the war and the rise of the IWW and the One Big Union,81 the image of the unbowed, wholly heroic worker had currency only in Australia. Certainly in 1911 when the Australian cartoonist Will Dyson began drawing for the militant union paper the Daily Herald, the London public were amazed by his images of bloated Fatmen and muscular workers.82 Dyson’s contributions to the Daily Herald have been credited with bringing the Australian worker/hero into British consciousness; the cultural historian Vance Palmer recalled that:
Hitherto the British workman had always been presented pathetically – a depressed figure in bowyangs, with his hand on the head of his starving child. Dyson made him young, militant, triumphant – an image of energy and hope, with an upraised fist.83
Palmer’s memory may have exaggerated the triumphant militancy of Dyson’s worker images; surviving cartoons from the Daily Herald show truly grotesque fatmen confronting muscular workers whose powers are still contained. See for example his ‘Labour Wants a Place in the Sun’ (Figure 6.31).84 However, a Dyson image re-published in 1916 in the Australian Labor Call (Figure 6.32) makes the case for the worker as prophet of universal liberation. Dyson’s labour Atlas shrugs off the world of kings and bishops and Fatmen almost casually, as a nuisance he can do without.85
Dyson’s image was republished in Labor Call in October 1916 with the caption ‘Now or Never’. In late 1916 Australia was being torn apart by a political battle over the issue of military conscription for service in the Great War. Australian Labor split on the issue, ending the period of majority government that the party had largely enjoyed since 1910. At the heart of the split there lay an iconic collapse: the stalwart figure of Labor/Labour could no longer encompass the national, the natural majority, the Australian People. It would not do so for another twenty years, until another World War.
In the intervening years both the leadership and the rank-and-file of the Australian labour movement shifted decidedly leftwards. This was confirmed by the revised ALP objective adopted at the Eighth National Conference of 1919. The older ‘cultivation of an Australian sentiment’ was joined by declarations of ‘international solidarity’ (sitting somewhat incongruously with continued support for White Australia), and socialist and anti-war objectives. The self-declared party of Australian nationalism, Australian Labor, was now more likely to search for inspiration offshore – as in the 1917 Russian Revolution – than to look to the populist radicalism of the Australian People.86
This shift – and it is a shift that again underlines the transnational world of our subject – is captured by the wartime cartoons of Scott’s successor at the Queensland Worker, Jim Case.87 Previously Case’s figure for Labour was a teenage update on the ‘Little Boy from Manly’ – a favourite cartooning symbol of Australia as a little boy (another Hop invention, and explored in more depth by Simon Sleight in the previous chapter).88 Inspired by Dyson’s work and by the growth of the syndicalist movement and events in Russia, Case’s Labour changes to an industrial and proletarian (and later Bolshevik-like figure) stripped of any Australianness (Figure 6.33).89 Indeed he now sports Dyson’s British-style ‘Andy-Capp’ – a long-peaked flat hat with a clip-down peak and a crown button.90
In its blood-soaked horror the Great War had shown Australians that they were not sheltered from the heroes and villains of the wider world. But while his claims to speak for the nation had obscured the origins of the heroic Australian worker, his image was never something simply forged within the parochial bounds of the Australian nation-state.
1 Montagu Scott, ‘All the world over’, The Worker [Queensland], 23 May 1903.
2 Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, 1983, editors. The Invention of Tradition, New York: Cambridge University Press: especially, ‘Introduction: Inventing Traditions’.
3 Claude Marquet, 1920, Cartoons by Claude Marquet: A Commemorative Volume, with Appreciations by Leading Representatives of Literature and Politics, Sydney: The Worker Trustee: 14. The tribute came from the prominent Australian Worker’s Union official, Frank W. Lundie.
4 Eric Hobsbawm, 1978, ‘Man and Woman in Socialist Iconography’, History Workshop, 6: 124–125.
5 Montagu Scott, ‘Labour’s Empire Day’, The Worker [Queensland], 26 May 1906.
6 Hobsbawn, ‘Man and Woman’: 126.
7 Ross McMullin, 1992, The Light on the Hill: The Australian Labor Party, 1891–1991, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, Melbourne: 7. The phrase is from a poem penned during the bitter 1891 Queensland shearers’ strike
8 W.G. Spence, 1909, Australia’s Awakening: Thirty Years in the Life of an Australian Agitator, Sydney: Worker Trustees: 9.
9 Spence, Australia’s Awakening: 377.
10 Henry E. Boote, 1920, ‘A Foreword’, Cartoons by Claude Marquet: i.
11 Neville Kirk, 2003, Comrades and Cousins: Globalization, Workers and Labour Movements in Britain, the USA and Australia from the 1880s to 1914, London: Merlin Press, London. See also M. van der Linden, 2003, Transnational Labour History, Aldershot: Ashgate; and the special editions: ‘Australia/UK Comparative Labour History’, Labour History, November 1996; and ‘Trans-Tasman Labour History: Comparative or Transnational?’, Labour History, forthcoming November 2008.
12 Kirk, Comrades and Cousins: 1–2.
13 Stefan Berger and Greg Patmore, 2005, ‘Comparative Labour History in Britain and Australia’, Labour History, 88: 42.
14 We have explored this issue, separately and jointly, in: Marian Quartly, 2005, ‘Making Working Class Heroes’, Labour History, 89: 159–178; and Nick Dyrenfurth and Marian Quartly, 2007, ‘Fat Man v ‘the People’: Labour Intellectuals and the Making of Oppositional Identities, 1890–1900’, Labour History, 92: 31–56. Both articles made a strong case for considering the cartoonists as labour intellectual. On this concept see: Sean Scalmer and Terry Irving, 2005, ‘Labour Intellectuals in Australia: Modes, Traditions, Generations, Transformations’, International Review of Social History, 50 (1): 1–26; Sean Scalmer, 1997, ‘Being Practical in Early and Contemporary Labor Politics: A Labourist Critique’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 43 (3): 301–311; and Nick Dyrenfurth, 2008, ‘Heroes and Villains: the Cultural Politics of Australian Labour, 1878–1918’, unpublished PhD thesis, Monash University: especially chapter 6. Another exception to the rule is: June Senyard, 1991, Labor in Cartoons: Cartoons of the Australian Labor Party in Victoria 1891–1990, South Yarra: Hyland House: ‘Introduction’.
15 See, in comparative mode: Kirk’s Comrades and Cousins, ‘Introduction’, ‘Chapter One: Transatlantic Connections and American ‘Peculiarities’: Labour Politics in the United States and Britain, 1893–1908’, and ‘Chapter Three: The Australian ‘Workingman’s Paradise’ in Comparative Perspective, 1890–1914’. See also: Leighton James and Raymond Markey, 2006, ‘Class and Labour: The British Labour Party and the Australian Labor Party Compared’, Labour History, 90: 23–42.
16 Consult also: Robin Archer’s recently published study of ‘American exceptionalism’ in comparison with Australian Labor: Robin Archer, 2007, Why is There No Labor Party in the United States? Princeton: Princeton University Press.
17 See: Ian Turner, 1979, Industrial Labour and Politics: the Dynamics of the Labour Movement in Eastern Australia, 1900–1921, Sydney: Hale & Iremonger: chapter 2, especially 46–48; Ray Markey, 1988, The Making of the Labor Party in New South Wales, 1880–1900, Kensington: NSWUP: chapter 10; McMullin, The Light on the Hill: chapters 2–4; Bede Nairn, 1989, Civilising Capitalism: The Beginnings of the Australian Labor Party, Second edition, Carlton: Melbourne University Press: chapter 10; and Frank Bongiorno, 1996, The People’s Party: Victorian Labor and the Radical Tradition, 1875–1914, Carlton: Melbourne University Press.
18 Vane Lindesay, 1973, The Inked-in Image: A Survey of Australian Comic Art, Melbourne: Heinemann: 3. See in more depth: Marguerite Mahood, 1973, The Loaded Line: Australian Political Caricature 1788–1901, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press: chapters 5–9.
19 See: Mahood, Loaded Line: 206. See most famously: Carrington’s ‘King Working Man – The Destined Monarch of the World’, Melbourne Punch, 18 August 1887; and after Bradley replaced him as lead cartoonist, witness the ogre-like portrayal of the unions demanding the proceeds of an ‘honest’ labourer’s work (‘More!’, Melbourne Punch, 2 October 1890). Consult however an earlier image of heroic labour as portrayed by Nicholas Chevalier in: ‘The Coming Man’ (Melbourne Punch, 13 May 1858): a noble, muscular labourer rests on his spade, sleeves rolled up, contemplating his contribution to growth of Australian society.
20 Unknown, ‘Anti-Chinese Immigration’, Sydney Punch, 3 August 1878.
21 See in particular the discourse surrounding the 1878–9 Sydney Seamen’s strike in: Dyrenfurth, ‘Heroes and Villains’: 60–67.
22 G. Frederick Keller, ‘The first blow at the Chinese question’, Wasp, 8 December 1877. See also: Keller’s ‘The Coming Man’, Wasp, 21 May 1881; and ‘Immigration, East and West’, Wasp, 26 August 1881. One comparative analysis of racism towards the Chinese population in nineteenth century California and America is: Andrew Markus, 1979, Fear and Hatred: Purifying Australia and California 1850–1901, Sydney: Hale & Iremonger: especially chapter 11, with its emphasis on the labour press of the 1890s.
23 B. G. Andrews, 1972, ‘Hopkins, Livingston York (Yourtee) (1846–1927)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, 4, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press: 421–422. Traill unsuccessfully attempted to lure Opper of Puck and Keller of Wasp to Australia (Mahood, Loaded Line: 173).
24 Lindesay, Inked-in Image: 10.
25 Lindesay, Inked-in Image: 7.
26 Simon Houfe, 2006, Phil May: His Life and Work, London: Ashgate: 6–7. Fat has of course a long history as the embodiment of social greed. The figure of Gluttony, one of the ‘Deadly Sins’, carried readily over into moral condemnation of the abuse of power by kings and civic leaders. Bakhtin’s studies of Rabelais have alerted scholars to his forceful representation of popular cultural forms, not least in gross Pantagruel the ‘people-eater’ (Dyrenfurth and Quartly, ‘Fat Man v ‘the People’: 37).
27 Phil May, ‘The Wharf-Labourers’ Strike’, Bulletin, 23 January 1886. In contrast to Britain and America, Australian Labor had made significant progress toward establishing an independent Labor Party by this time. Between 1879 and early 1891 seven intercolonial trades union congresses were held and the 1884 congress specifically recommended independent Labor parliamentary representation.
28 Phil May, ‘Poverty and Wealth; It all depends on the position of the bundle’, Bulletin, c. 1887.
29 Anon, ‘The Difference between Labor and Capital’, Life, c. 1887.
30 See: Dyrenfurth and Quartly, ‘Fat Man v. the People’: 39.
31 Argus, 19 January 1886. See: Nick Dyrenfurth, 2008, ‘“A Terrible Monster”: from “Employers to Capitalists” in the 1885–86 Melbourne Wharf Labourers Strike’, Labour History, 94: 60, and following.
32 John Tenniel, ‘Mammon’s Rents’, London Punch, c. 1883. Whilst the British and, in particular, Punch had been critically important in turning cartooning into a serious form of political commentary, the concern of pioneers such as Williams Hogarth was social comment.
33 Stephen Hess and Milton Kaplan, 1975, The Ungentlemanly Art: A History of American Political Cartoons, New York: Macmillan: 17.
34 See, amongst countless others, Nast’s cartoon of a policeman coming to grips with the gargantuan stomach of Boss Tweed: ‘Can the Law Reach Him? – The Dwarf and the Giant Thief’, Harper’s Weekly, 6 January 1872; and ‘The Brains’, Harper’s Weekly, 21 October 1871.
35 Hess and Kaplan, The Ungentlemanly Art: 13.
36 But Nast was no friend of organised labour either. He was deeply critical of the emergence of a more militant brand of trade unionism: his 1874 cartoon ‘The American Twins’, sub-titled ‘United we stand, Divided we fall’, pictured Labor and Capital as Siamese twins in: ‘The Real Union’. Harper’s Weekly, 7 February 1874.
37 Bernhard Gillam, ‘The Protectors of Our Industries’, Puck, 7 February 1883.
38 Samuel Ehrhardt, ‘History Repeats Itself: The Robber Barons of the Middle Ages and the Robber Barons of Today’, Puck, c. 1889.
39 Donald Dewey, 2007, The Art of Ill Will: The Story of American Political Cartoons, New York: New York University Press: 225.
40 Joseph Keppler, ‘Bosses of the Senate’, Puck, 23 January 1889. Before establishing Puck in 1876, Keppler was staff cartoonist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. His April 1880 image of ‘The Beginning and End of a Labor Strike’ provides, perhaps, the earliest image of the paunchy, old-man capitalist, though this figure’s corpulence was no inherent sin: it simply reflected socio-economic reality or perhaps the dominant imagination of what a wealthy middle-aged businessmen looked like, despite the clear nod towards mounting industrial strife (Joseph Keppler, ‘The Beginning and End of a Labor Strike’, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 10 April 1880). As an example of his growing anti-Labor attitudes see his: ‘The Big Boycott Wind-Bag’, Puck, 28 April 1886. Also see: Samuel West, 1988, Satire on Stone: The Political Cartoons of Joseph Keppler, Urbana: University of Illinois Press).
41 William Cahn, 1972, A Pictorial History of American Labor, New York: Crown: 178–179.
42 J. A. Wales, ‘The law of arbitration for the quarrelling giants’, Judge, c. 1889. And see also: J. A. Wales, ‘The Proper Way’, Judge, c. 1889. His stereotypical labour man – sleaves-rolled up, bearded, muscular and upright – implicitly possessed equal economic interests with the capitalist, a point emphasised by the figure Puck, a take on the elfin character in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Puck regularly admonished the squabbling duo: in the case of Wales’s ‘The Proper Way’ he pleads for them to discard absolutist positions of ‘Monopoly’ and ‘Socialism’: ‘Come down, both of you, off your high horses and meet on equal ground’.
43 Livingstone Hopkins, ‘The Labour Crisis’, Bulletin, 16 August 1890.
44 See: ‘Durkin, Thomas Coleman (1853–1902)’, in H. J. Gibbney & Ann G. Smith, 1987, editors. Biographical Register 1788–1913: Notes From the Name Index of the Australian Dictionary of Biography, I (A-J), Canberra: Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian National University. Durkin is credited with giving drawing lessons to the Dyson brothers, Ambrose and Will.
45 Tom Durkin, ‘Toe the Scratch’, Bull Ant, 9 October 1890.
46 Livingstone Hopkins, ‘The Strikes’, Bulletin, 23 August 1890. This point can be further made by comparing Hop’s iconic 1890 commentary with an image he drew for the Bulletin just 11 months earlier in September 1889. ‘The Secret of England’s Greatness; Fivepence Per Hour’ drew its inspiration from London Punch showing a thin, haggard worker arriving home to find his wife starving on the floor and his children in distress. In putting the case for maintaining the Australian worker’s standard of living Hop was drawing a strong in comparison to his English cousin (Mahood, Loaded Line: 174).
47 Ambrose Dyson, ‘Our Industrial System’, Champion, 14 September 1895. See also: Ambrose Dyson, ‘The “Proper Attitude” of Labor’, Commonweal, 24 September 1892.
48 Stuart Macintyre, 1999, A Concise History of Australia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 122–130.
49 Lionel Lindsay, ‘The Forge’, Tocsin, 21 October 1897.
50 Monty Scott, ‘The Coming Tussle’, The Worker [Queensland], 11 January 1902.
51 Claude Marquet, ‘United Democracy’, Tocsin, 26 November 1903 [supplement].
52 Hobsbawn makes the point that ‘the role of women in this new socialist iconography was to inspire’ (Hobsbawm, ‘Man and Woman’: 127–128, emphasis in original).
53 Hobsbawm, ‘Man and Woman’: 126.
54 Hobsbawm, ‘Man and Woman’: 129.
55 Monty Scott, ‘The Bundle of Sticks: Union is Strength’, Worker [Queensland], 16 January 1897.
56 Relevant texts include: K. Adler and M. Pointon, 1993, editors. The Body Imaged: The Human Form and Visual Culture since the Renaissance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Tim Armstrong, 1998, Modernism, Technology and the Body: A Cultural Study, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Maurizia Boscagli, 1996, Eye on the Flesh: Fashions of Masculinity in the Early Twentieth Century, Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press; Tamar Garb, 1998, Bodies of Modernity. Figure and Flesh in Fin-de-Siecle France, London: Thames and Hudson; George L. Mosse, 1996, The Image of Man; the Creation of Modern Masculinity, New York: Oxford University Press; John F. Kasson, 2001, Houdini, Tarzan and the Perfect Man: The White Male Body and the Challenge of Modernity in America, New York: Hill and Wang. Note that none of these recognise Hobsbawm’s earlier contribution.
57 Caroline Daley, 2002, ‘The Strongman of Eugenics, Eugene Sandow’, Australian Historical Studies, 33 (120): 233–247.
58 See also Marquet’s ‘Democracy Triumphant’, Tocsin, 24 December 1903.
59 Con Strachan, ‘Labor’s Reward’, Westralian Worker, 11 March 1904. See also: the Strachan illustrated front covers of the Westralian Worker, 20 and 27 November 1903; 11 and 18 December 1903; 2 January 1904; and 4 March 1904.
60 Reference to circulation figures, from: Mahood, Loaded Line.
61 Montagu Scott, ‘The Birth of the Worker’, Worker [Queensland], Worker Christmas Number, 15 December 1894. This image is usefully discussed in Andrew Reeves, 1998, ‘The Allegorical Side of the Banner – Women and Imagery in the Australian Labor Movement’, in Margaret Anderson, editor. When Australia Was a Woman: Images of a Nation, Perth: Western Australian Museum: 38.
62 Suzanne Edgar, 2006, ‘Scott, Eugene Montagu (Monty) (1835–1909)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB), Online Edition, Accessed 18 May 2008. Available at: http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A060108b.htm.
63 See for example his Biblical reading of the Labour Sampson oppressed by Assyrians and Chinese in ‘Wealth and Want: the Queensland Samson’, Boomerang, 22 December 1888.
64 Montagu Scott, ‘What Queensland is Coming To’, Boomerang, 3 August 1889. In 1888 he explained ‘Why Labouring Doesn’t Pay’ by showing a bricklayer literally burdened with a fat, unproductive man who ‘lives by his wits’ (Montagu Scott, ‘Why Labouring Doesn’t Pay’, Boomerang, 3 March 1888. Still the sub-caption reads ‘The man who carries the hod would be lighter if he shook off the man who lives by his wits’). Lane’s brief but spectacular career as a labour propagandist has been the subject of heated debate: Marilyn Lake, 1986, ‘Socialism and Manhood: the Case of William Lane’, Labour History, 50: 54–62; Bruce Scates, 1990, ‘Socialism and Feminism, the Case of William Lane: A Reply to Marilyn Lake’, Labour History, 59: 72–94; and Michael Leach, 1997, ‘“Manly, True, and White”: Masculine Identity and Australian Socialism’, in Geoff Stokes, editor. The Politics Of Identity in Australia, Melbourne: Cambridge University Press: 63–77.
65 Montagu Scott, ‘Why Don’t They Drop Him?’, The Worker [Sydney], 11 December 1897; Montagu Scott, ‘The MiddleMan’, The Worker [Queensland], 12 January 1895; Montagu Scott, ‘The Bushwhackers’ Brigade’, Tocsin, 15 February 1900; Montagu Scott, ‘The Road to Market’, The Worker [Queensland], 26 August 1899.
66 Montagu Scott, ‘The Modern Atlas’, The Worker [Queensland], 10 February 1906.
67 See Verity Burgmann, 1985, In Our Time: Socialism and the Rise of Labor 1885–1905, Sydney: Allen and Unwin.
68 Montagu Scott, ‘Falstaff up to Date’, The Worker [Queensland], 8 May 1893. Indeed the tendency to corpulence amongst many of the older generation of conservative politicians of the time laid them open to humorous characterisation as a conniving Fat Man. Labour cartoonists particularly delighted in mocking the anti-Labor claims of former NSW Premier and (briefly) Prime Minister, George Houston Reid. His portly frame and ostentatious eye monocle provided the perfect symbols of mockery, despite the fact that Reid had worked alongside and legislated much of the fledging NSW Labor Party’s platform during the 1890s. For a Fat Man Reid see: Livingston Hopkins, ‘Similia Similibus Curantur’, Bulletin, 2 November 1895; and Claude Marquet, Sydney Worker, 11 March 1905.
69 It is a fascinating but thus far untestable possibility that Charles Frederick Marquet may have been a political prisoner in the French penal settlement on the New Hebrides. A number of these men came to Australia at the end of their sentences. Vane Lindesay, ‘Marquet, Claude Arthur (1869–1920)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB), Online Edition. Accessed 18 May 2008. Available at: http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A100408b.htm.
70 Beautiful women’s bodies also featured in the Tocsin drawings, as classically draped female icons. Marquet is flirting here with bohemianism; in September 1903 he included in a full-page cartoon a figure representing ‘The Tocsin artist … here fired into the night for sketching Mrs. Fatman in the semi-nude’. See Tocsin, 31 December 1903, 14 June 1903; and Tocsin, 10 September 1903. See for example: The Australian Worker, 17 December 1904; 23 January 1905; and 4 March 1905. All of which were submitted to the Australian Worker before Marquet got the job as staff artist.
71 Claude Marquet, ‘Busy Times Ahead’, Australian Worker, 7 January 1905; Dyrenfurth, ‘Heroes and Villains’: parts 4 and 5.
72 Marian Quartly, ‘Making Working-Class Heroes’: 169–170. Liza Dale, 1991, The Rural Context of Masculinity and the ‘Woman Question’: an Analysis of the Amalgamated Shearers’ Union Support for Women’s Equality, NSW, 1890–1895, Melbourne: Monash Publications in History.
73 Montagu Scott, ‘What Eight Hours Day Means (The Betrothal of Industry and Leisure)’, The Worker [Queensland], 2 January 1904.
74 Claude Marquet, ‘Labor Year’, Sydney Worker, 31 December 1908. The trope of a heterosexual couple welcoming the rising sun of a New Year runs joyously across the decade. See also: Montagu Scott, ‘Labour Welcomes the New Year’, The Worker [Queensland], 2 January 1904; & A. J. M, ‘A Bright Prospect’, Labor Call, 3 January 1907.
75 Montagu Scott, ‘The Loaves and Fishes’, The Worker [Queensland], 6 October 1894.
76 See for example: G. Frederick Keller, ‘The Curse of California’, Wasp, 19 August 1882, showing the tentacles of rail monopoly controlling financial interests, big industries and of course small farmers and working men; and Phil May, ‘The Mongolian Octopus – his grip on Australia’, Bulletin, 21 August 1886, which pictured the ‘Mongolian Octopus’ choking Australian men, women and children.
77 Udo J. Keppler, ‘Next!’, Puck, 7 September 1904.
78 Claude Marquet, ‘Greed’, Sydney Worker, 12 November 1904. Marquet recycled this octopus in 1910 as ‘Land Monopoly’ threatening honest Australian farmers, in a move directed by the ALP’s election policy (a long-proposed land tax) of that year; see Claude Marquet, ‘The Land Monopolist’, Sydney Worker, 7 April 1910.
79 Claude Marquet, ‘Oh for Nationalisation’, Sydney Worker, 23 January 1904; Claude Marquet, ‘Senator George and the Dragon!’, Sydney Worker, 5 March 1908; Claude Marquet, ‘The Land Has Its Perils’, Sydney Worker, 4 January 1912.
80 Claude Marquet, ‘The Frankenstrictor’, Sydney Worker, 7 November 1907. The ALP’s electoral net could be cast even further, as in Andrew Fisher’s 1913 campaign address to ‘the producers’, a constituency who were “not … wage-earners only … [but] agriculturalists and pastoralists are keenly interested in the Fisher government policy, because to-day they pay 8 per cent for loans from the Fat banks”: Labor Call, 8 May 1913.
81 Paul Buhle and Nicole Schulman, 2005, editors. Wobblies! A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World, London and New York: Verso.
82 Ross McMullin, 2006, Will Dyson: Australia’s Radical Genius, Melbourne: Scribe: chapter 2.
83 Vance Palmer, 1949, ‘Will Dyson’, Meanjin Quarterly, 8 (4): 213–4. Also cited in: McMullin, Will Dyson: 85. ‘Bowyang’is defined by the Macquarie Dictionary as ‘a string or strap round the trouser leg to prevent the turn-up from dragging and to allow freedom of movement when crouching or bending’. In Australian iconic usage it defined a worker, generally a rural worker.
84 Will Dyson, ‘Labour Wants a Place in the Sun’, Daily Herald [London], c. 1913; reprinted in McMullin, Will Dyson: 90. The accompanying text reads: ‘THE CAPITALIST (deeply shocked at Labor’s efforts to emerge: “Back to your abyss, Sir! As it is already there is scarcely enough sun to go round!”)’. Palmer no doubt had in mind Dyson’s memorable image of a rather surly, militant worker confronting ‘Profit and his Paramour’, Daily Herald (London), c. 1913 (reprinted in McMullin, Will Dyson: 109).
85 Will Dyson, ‘Now or Never’, Labor Call, 19 October 1916. It was initially entitled ‘The doubting Atlas’ and was (re)published in Boote’s Australian Worker, 12 November 1914.
86 Dyrenfurth, ‘Heroes and Villains’: 425–429.
87 Jim Case’s biography echoes Marquet’s – born in outback Australia (in 1884) to working class parents, worked in the printing trade before becoming a self-taught cartoonist with the Queensland Worker. D.J. Murphy, 1979, ‘Case, James Thomas (1884–1921)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB), 7, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press: 585–586.
88 See: Queensland Worker, 8 April 1911, 15 April 1911, 4 March 1911, 11 March 1911, & 31 July 1913.
89 Jim Case, ‘The Sifting’, Worker (Queensland), 23 November 1916.
90 When Dyson exported the Australian model to pre-war Britain he moulded it to that country’s class iconography. His militant British worker often wears the ‘Andy Capp’ which famously adorned Kier Hardie, the first Labour MP, when he arrived at Parliament at the turn of the twentieth century (Eric Hobsbawm, 1983, ‘Mass-producing Traditions: Europe, 1870–1914’, in Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, editors. The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 283–291).
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Cite this chapter as: Dyrenfurth, Nick; Quartly, Marian. 2009. ‘“All the world over”: The transnational world of Australian radical and labour cartoonists, 1880s to 1920’. Drawing the Line: Using Cartoons as Historical Evidence, edited by Scully, Richard; Quartly, Marian. Melbourne: Monash University ePress. pp. 6.1 to 6.47.
© Copyright 2009 Nick Dyrenfurth and Marian Quartly
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