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Cartoons of the Moment – Australia’s Prime Minister Delights the Empire (c.1915)


In this edition of Cartoons of the Moment, cartoonist Harry Julius comments on the war in Europe and Australian Prime Minister Hughes’s policy of restrictions on trade with Germany.

Curator’s notes

Cartoons of the Moment was a weekly political cartoon segment that screened in the Australasian Gazette newsreel from around 1914 to 1918. From 1916, the segment supported Prime Minister William (Billy) Hughes’s push for conscription and his other causes including enforced restrictions on German trade. Julius drew several sketches about the latter, including Australia’s Prime Minister Delights at the Empire (clip one), Miss Australasia and Sir George and Saint George.

Cut-out animation and stop-motion photography is used to great effect in these early examples of Australian animated cartoons. In clip one, Billy Hughes’s hat flips open to deliver two characters: a man representing German trade and a mini-version of Hughes delivering a knockout blow to the former. The animation is simple, but effective, and is representative of the style adopted by Julius throughout the Cartoons of the Moment series.