The First Australian Cartoonist

Cartoons of the Moment
Cartoonist: Harry Julius. P: Australasian Films. AUS 1915
Print: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

“In January 1915, Australia’s largest film production company, Australasian Films, commissioned Julius to provide a satirical commentary on the news for their nationally distributed weekly cinema newsreel, The Australian Gazette.
Already a household name around the country, Julius (1885-1938) had been delivering satirical sketches for the major newspapers for some years. Until that point there had never been an Australian produced satirical commentary for the cinema, and certainly not a cartoon. No series of locally-produced cartoons had screened in cinemas, only imported animation. Australasian Films knew they had a ‘first’. (…)
The clip is a mixture of live action and stop motion technology. Stop motion, or frame-by-frame photography, involves photographing the action one frame at a time to create the effect of movement. World animation at this time was predominantly simple line drawings and stop motion.
Julius’ Cartoons nearly always ended with a laugh – despite the subject matter mostly being the events of the First World War. He often ridiculed the enemy; other common themes were generating sympathy for allied troops and social commentary on fashion, food and other home front issues. The cartoons enjoyed great popularity with audiences according to newspaper reports of the day.”
Sally Jackson
National Film and Sound Archive