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George Finey

In their own words

Recorded 1967

George Finey
Audio: 2 minutes

Now, I worked for The Labor Daily for about, I suppose, 18 months and one of the elections came on, and I said to Mark Gosling, who was at that time a politician seeking re-entry to parliament under the Lang government, I said, ‘How do you feel about your chances of victory in this election?’. He said, ‘Well, I hope we don’t win, George, we don’t want to go in, there’ll be bloodshed’. He said, ‘If we got back again, there’d be bloodshed, be a revolution’. I said, ‘Well, isn’t that nice?’. About a fortnight later I got a little notice in the letter rack and I opened it up, it was addressed to me, and it said, ‘Dear Mr Finey, on account of reorganisation of staff, your services are no longer required’. And that was the end of that.

So, then the Depression hit, and it came with a vengeance. I had no job and I went to one or two of the papers and Eric Baume was editor of The Sunday Times I think it was, then, and I went to Eric and I said, ‘I’m not earning anything at all. I got no money coming in. I don’t want to go on the dole, bit drastic, and it’s not worth a cracker’. He said, ‘George, we can give you some work to do’. ‘But’, he said, ‘you cannot get that work with your name.’ He said, ‘Your name stinks in the cartooning world’. He said, ‘The papers just simply would not have your work. You think of those cartoons you did for The Labor Daily, they were appalling!’. ‘No,’ I said, ‘they were truthful, Eric, not appalling – truthful.’ ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘forget about that. Are you prepared to change your name, just so that we can put it on the pay sheet?’ ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I’m prepared to do that, okay.’ So, I signed my name Page, p-a-g-e, to the drawings I did, but they weren’t cartoons, he wouldn’t have cartoons, he said, ‘Give me some of your caricatures’. So I did the build-up strip of caricatures, taking a rock, you know, or a bag of flour, and turning it into a flour miller, something like that, and they paid me three guineas per week, so for quite a long time, for three guineas a week, I worked at theses odd jobs on the Times, thanks to Eric.

Well, that didn’t last so very long, I got out of that.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of George Finey is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Audio source

National Library of Australia, Hazel de Berg collection

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George Finey

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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