The 2009 ACA Stanley Awards Weekend

November 16th, 2009 | Posted in News

The Australian Cartoonists' Association

I was honored and privileged to be invited to beautiful Sydney, Australia to be a guest speaker at the Australian Cartoonists Association‘s 25th annual Stanley Awards this past weekend.

The ACA is the Aussie equivalent of the National Cartoonists Society in the U.S., and in fact is an even older organization having grown from the original Australian Black and White Artist’s Club formed back in 1924. Australia is brimming with fantastic talent in the cartooning field… so much of the work I saw there was absolutely top notch. I was humbled to be asked to be a speaker at their event this year.

The Stanley Awards, much like the NCS Reuben Awards, is an annual event celebrating excellence in the cartooning profession, and culminates in an awards banquet where a number of artists are honored by nominations and awards in multiple categories. Also like the Reubens, that is only part of the whole event.

The Stanleys encompass the better part of a three day weekend, and features several guest speakers, panels and workshops as well as social activities that lead up to the awards dinner.

Friday, Nov.  13th

Things kicked off on Friday with the opening of a terrific cartoon art show featuring members of the ACA which was exhibited at the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) television building.

The Cartooning Exhibition
At the ABC Studios for the Art Show

Upon our return to the Novotel Darling Harbour hotel, the day continued with a series of presentations:

  • Ward O’Neil– Ward reviewed his long and storied career. A highly respected cartoonist and illustrator, Ward is a three time Walkley award winner for illustration in 1982, 1984 and 1986. He is currently working at the Australian Financial Review.
  • Pran Kumar– Known as “the Walt Disney of India”, Pran discussed the history and current state of comics in India, including his own work. Fascinating presentation.
  • Panel Discussion Cartooning on the International Stage, featuring Pran, and Jim Bridges and Rolf Heimann, recently returned from a visit to China. They talked about cartooning and comics as it pertains to the rest of the world, and Rolf had a lot to say about the struggles of Chinese cartoonists with their oppressive government.

Following these presentations was the main event. Guest of honor Pat Oliphant, the legendary political cartoonist and a transplanted native Aussie living in the United States since 1964. Pat’s presentation was a guided Q & A and he told many stories about his long and distinguished career as well as sharing details about his process and approach to editorial cartooning.

Pat Oliphant
Pat Oliphant does some drawing during his presentation. You can see a video
of him doing this recreation of a controversial cartoon here.

That evening the group took a cruise around the harbour aboard a double decker cruise ship, and enjoyed appetizers (“entrees” in Australian) and cocktails under the shadow of the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

The Lovely Anna and Me
The Lovely Anna and me on the harbour cruise

Saturday, Nov. 14th-

Following the business meeting, it was time for my presentation. I had been given a lot of time to do both a presentation and conduct a mini workshop on caricature. Only a few people fell asleep, so I did better than usual!

Following my presentation we all went into the beautiful Darling Harbour wharf and drew caricatures of each other and passersby while enjoying sandwiches (no Vegemite) and soft drinks.

The afternoon program commenced back at the Novotel:

  • Panel Discussion– The theme: “Getting To Grips With A New PM” featured cartoonists Sean Leahy (Courier-Mail, Queensland), Phil Somerville (freelance) and Peter Broelman (freelance) discussing how they’ve coped with drawing a new PM (and new US President) for the first time in a decade.
  • David Sprod– Unfortunately Michael Janze, the U.S. cartoonist and animator, was unable to make the tr-p due to some error in his flight arrangements and was not there to do his eagerly awaited presentation. However David gamely filled in. David is the nephew of the late George Sprod, an Australian cartoonist who might be best known for the work he did in the British magazine Punch. David, who has curated an exhibit of George’s work,¬¨‚Ć talked about the career of his late uncle.

That night was the 2009 Stanley Awards banquet. Held in the Syndey Convention and Exhibition Center in Darling Harbour, the banquet room commanded fantastic views of the harbour and featured an entertaining evening of music and fun. Emceed by Aussie television personality Jean Kittison, the awards ceremony was non-stop laughs.

Me and The Lovely Anna
Me and The Lovely Anna all dressed up

Of course, the main reason for the entire event was the honoring of the well-deserving cartoonists in six different categories. Here are the categories and the nominees with the recipient of the “Bronze Stanley” for each in bold:


  • Anton Emdin
  • George Haddon
  • Alan Moir
  • Simon Schneider
  • John Tiedemann

Graphic Media Artist

  • David Allen
  • David Follett
  • Chris Kelly
  • Simon Kneebone
  • Brett Lethbridge

Comic Strip

  • Jason Chatfield
  • Gary Clark
  • David Follett
  • Alex Hallatt
  • Alan Salisbury

Single Gag Cartoonist

  • Matt Golding
  • John Kudelka
  • Reg Lynch
  • Neil Matterson
  • Andrew Weldon


  • Matt Adams
  • Peter Broelman
  • Judy Nadin
  • David Rowe
  • John Spooner

Political Cartoonist

  • Peter Broelman
  • Rod Emmerson
  • Alan Moir
  • David Pope
  • David Rowe

Illustration winner Anton Edmin and me
Illustration winner Anton Emdin and me

The Lovely Anna, Pat and me
The Lovely Anna, Pat Oliphant and me

The ACA Also honored Norman Hetherington with the Jim Russell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Cartooning. Norman had a long running Aussie TV show called “Mr. Squiggle” where he drew cartoons via a marionette by the same name for over 40 years to the delight of generations of Australian children. It was a delight to see him so honored.

Finally the big award, the Gold Stanley for “Cartoonist of the Year” was awarded. This is the Aussie equivalent of the Reuben award. And the 2009 Gold Stanley went to:

Peter Broelman

Peter is an outstanding cartoonist, illustrator, caricaturist, editorial cartoonist and all around great guy as well. Wonderful to see him take home this prestigious award… especially considering the immense talents that Australia has to offer.

The Lovely Anna and I had a great time. ACA President Jules Faber, Secretary Grant Brown, Treasurer Kerry-Anne Brown, Deputy- President Jason Chatfield, Membership Secretary Peter Broelman, the rest of the board and all the members of the ACA treated us like family and made us feel very welcome. A great organization full of great people. Congratulations to all the nominees and recipients.


  1. Jules Faber says:

    You’ll always be made welcome any time you and the lovely Anna choose to return Tom.
    Your talk was brilliant and I’ve heard nothing but great reviews from our Members.
    Thanks so much for visiting us an sharing your indepth knowledge of the industry.

  2. George says:


    You should have been a reporter – your account is more timely, more concise and more informative than what the ACA members have reported so far. They must still be hung over.

    Hope the Hunter Valley trip is faring well for you and Anna.

    Cheers George

  3. Hey Tom! What a brilliant experience to meet you. We’re all so glad you took the trouble to come and visit us. I have never, in all the years putting the conference together, ever seen a room of delegates so rapt, focused and taking notes so furiously.

    You are, as Jules said, welcome anytime you care to return. We ove your energy, your enthusiasm and your support. Much love to Anna (who has great taste in cartoonists).


  4. dave follett says:

    Jon’s going to be so pissed off when he sees what you did to his stanley award…


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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