For Gorsake … This is Serious!

It is Australia’s most famous, most important, and most copied cartoon.

It was used as the cover for cartoonist Stan Cross’s biography, it was used as the cover for a history of Australian cartooning, it is the basis for the Australian Cartoonists Association’ Stanley Award, and more often than not lately it is the inspiration for the ACA’s Yearbook covers. It has been hailed as one of the funniest cartoons in the world.

And it took eighty years, after decades of searching, for the original art to resurface 2014.

It then took another eight years to find a copy of its original publication.

Labelled an instant classic, bizarrely, this cartoon has twice been lost. Not only was the original artwork missing for eight decades, the National Library of Australia’s Trove database holds no record of its first newspaper publication.

These disappearances – and the diligent detective work required by those who recovered the cartoon – demonstrate deep flaws in the way Australia maintains our rich cartoon heritage.

Robert Phiddian, Richard Scully, and Stephanie Brookes, in association with cartoonist Lindsay Foyle, detail for The Conversation the hows and whys of an Australian treasure lost and found.

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