Stan Cross

He was the man who drew Australia’s funniest cartoon ‘For gorsake, stop laughing this is serious’ published on the 29th of July 1933, in Smith’s Weekly. In the heart of the depression it was so popular that full time staff were hired just to cope with requests for prints.

At 2/6d each they were sent all over Australia and the world i.e. The Khyber Pass, Mombasa, Tristan de Cunha and apparently even the Japanese Commander in Wewak, New Guinea had one on his wall with Japanese annotations.

Cross once met Henry Lawson in a bar and when Lawson found out he was the man who did the famous drawing, he saluted him over and over and over.

Born in 1888 in Los Angeles, he moved to Perth in 1892, left school at 16, worked as a railway clerk but studied art at night school (Perth Technical). In 1912 at the age of 24, Cross went to London to study art at St. Martins School of Art as he wanted to be a portraitist. While there, he was published in Punch Magazine.

He freelanced back in Perth, contributing to the Western Mail and the Sunday Times. Smith’s Weekly offered him five pounds a week in 1919 and off to Sydney he went. In 1920 he originated Australia’s first comic strip ‘The Man Who Waited’, within a week ‘You and Me’ followed, originally a political satire but soon changed to a domestic strip. He drew it for 19 years until it was taken over by Jim Russell and renamed ‘The Potts’, which became Australia’s longest running strip.

In 1928 he introduced ‘Smith’s Vaudevillians’ and did the first ‘Dad and Dave’ cartoons, translating the popular radio programs of the time into cartoons.

He originated lots of series at Smith’s Weekly i.e. ‘Things that made Stan Cross’ (economic and political criticism) ‘Places we have never visited’, (Law Courts, Parliament, Test Cricket, Players room), ‘Museum of the Future’, ‘Firsts in Australian History’, (‘the First Barmaid’, ‘the First Strike’, the First Footy Match etc.) In particular his drawings of Aboriginal people and situations were incredibly popular.

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