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George Finey

1895 – 1986

George Finey, one of Australia's best-known cartoonists, was born in Auckland and was selling drawings to local newspapers by the time he was 14. He completed an apprenticeship as a lithographer and served as an official war artist during World War I. After the war, Finey studied in London. He came to Australia in 1919, contributing cartoons to Aussie and the Bulletin before scoring the position of staff artist at Smith's Weekly in 1921. Here he became known as 'the Bolshie', but his 10 years at Smith's ended with his sacking when he attempted to hold an exhibition of his cartoons, which the paper claimed it owned. Finey freelanced before accepting a job with the Labor Daily in the early 1930s. His best work for this paper captured the mood of Depression-era Sydney and it was during this period that Jack Lang became one of his favourite targets - resulting, Finey believed, in his dismissal from the Daily after only 12 months. Finey would subsequently be fired from The Truth for the perceived anti-British sentiments of his cartoons of Governor Sir Phillip Game. During the 1930s, he also drew cartoons for the Red Leader and the Daily Telegraph, where he was political cartoonist from 1936. In retirement, Finey wrote poetry and continued to make paintings and collages, exhibiting until he was in his eighties. A retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Sydney Opera House in 1978.

Updated 2018