Remembering Larry Pickdering by Paul Zanetti is a Walkley award winning syndicated cartoonist with over 30 years in the media. He blogs at www.zanettisview.com
Larry Pickering was laid to rest yesterday.
Family and friends gathered on the Gold Coast to hear, and tell, yarns of the larrikin we all knew and loved.
Lifelong mate, John Singleton, delivered the eulogy by video (he flew up from Sydney to see Larry days before he checked out). Singo’s memories will be shared on this site in the next couple of days.
Larry Olsen, who goes way back to Larry’s horse training days, and spent a gazillion hours playing golf with Larry, got lost in time keeping the service amused with tales of his great friend.
Two of Larry’s sons, (Little) Larry and Ben spoke of their dad. There wasn’t a dry eye in the joint.
Larry’s family also asked me to say a few words (posted below). We were limited by time constraints, so I kept my memories to my first meeting with Larry. I could fill a book.
The service was filled laughter and tears.
And song, with a brilliant tribute, Ode To Larry Pickering, by Steve Mannix (coming soon).
Following these memories is a short video by Larry’s daughter, Steph, who picked a few public and private photos of Larry taken over his incredible life.
by Paul Zanetti
I remember clearly when I first discovered Larry Pickering.
It was 1975.
Gough Whitlam was Prime Minister, making one hell of a mess of the country with his Ministry of Misfits.
And there – in the Sydney Morning Herald – jumping from the pages were these hilariously outrageous, beautifully drawn cartoons making sense of the lunacy that was the political theatre of the day.
Larry didn’t like socialism.
So he was the perfect antidote to Whitlam.
Larry was brilliantly funny and clever – drawing Whitlam as a chook.
The infamous Pickering ‘Outhouse Series’ which ran in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1975
Whitlam hated the Pickering cartoons – which pricked Gough’s giant pompous ego – but Gough’s wife, Meg, loved the Pickering cartoons.
Meg would go around the Lodge pinning the cartoons up on the walls – and Gough would run around the Lodge tearing them down.
Poor old Gough became so beaten up by his own policies that Larry drew Whitlam with band aids on his face.
Naturally enough when Larry drew his calendars, the band aids were strategically positioned – including on his….donger, as Larry would eloquently explain.
Gough in Pickering’s Playmates calendar
Whitlam was furious and sued Larry for implying that by portraying Gough with a band aid on his donger, Gough had a sexually transmitted disease.
Larry couldn’t believe his luck.
In his defence, Larry said that Gough would need to drop his dacks in the court room to prove that he didn’t have a band aid on his donger.
Gough didn’t drop his dacks but he did drop the law suit.
The publicity sold another estimated 100,000 calendars.
Whether he realised it or not, Pickering was a pioneer, blazing a trail for a new generation of cartoonists.
I cut out his cartoons from the Herald and The Australian and glued them in a scrapbook. My late mate Bill Leak told me he stuck Larry’s cartoons on his bedroom walls.
My own connection to Larry goes back to my 16th birthday. It was 1977 and Larry was in his prime as a cartoonist.
I’m from a large Italian family of six boys. We lived in Wollongong, an hour south of Sydney.
For my birthday, my mum planned a trip to Sydney.
I got to choose where we would spend the day – The Zoo….or Bondi Beach…or Luna Park…my choice.
But I had other ideas.
“I want to meet Larry Pickering,” the 16 year-old me blurted out without hesitation.
So off we rode in the family wagon on our quest to find Larry.
When we arrived at the News Ltd Surry Hills building around 10:30am, we just assumed that:
·1) Larry Pickering would be there
· 2) He would allow a big Italian family to just march into his office without an appointment.
And yes, he was there.
And he did say ’Yes’.
The Brady Bunch-sized Zanetti family crammed into Larry’s office while I fired off a million questions.
At the time Larry Pickering was a household name, appearing in TV ads for Dulux Paints – and a regularly on talk shows and Blankety Blanks. He was a cartooning superstar.
Larry filling in for Singo’s Mumbleback Radio on Sydney’s 2KY
He patiently answered all my questions – and gave me the best present I ever had, a personally signed caricature.
“Who’s your favourite character, chief?” he asked me.
“I love your John Gorton.” I replied.
And quick-as-a-flash, he picked up a box cutter and sliced off a sheet of light drawing cardboard, grabbed a pen, while I watched enthralled as he magically waved his hand around the paper.
He finished off Gorton’s caricature with the ubiquitous flies that dotted his crumpled face- then signed it, ‘Happy Birthday, Paul. Larry Pickering’.
I had it framed and it hung above my bedhead until I left home at 18.
Larry asked me to send him some of my work.
He wrote back a two line letter that changed the course of my life.
“Your work shows tremendous promise. It’s up to you how long you stick to it.”
That was all the fuel an aspiring kid needed.
Two years later Larry retired to grow tomatoes and train race horses, to follow his childhood dream of winning the Melbourne Cup.
The famous Pickering Tomatoes
If there wasn’t a real Larry Pickering, then Banjo Patterson, Norman Lindsay or Henry Lawson would have had to invent him…the quintessential Australian character that embodied everything that is the Aussie larrikin.
Larry Pickering lived life to the full.
Larry Pickering lived multiple lives, each to their fullest.
He was a dad, a grandad, a husband, a mate, musician, punter, poker player, taxi driver, footy coach, mud crab catcher, fisherman, golfer, truck driver, proof reader, story teller, political candidate, TV celebrity, plane and helicopter pilot, philosopher, tomato farmer, race horse trainer, magazine centrefold, magazine publisher, inventor, racing car driver, blogger…too many lives to list….and somehow managed to squeeze in a career as Australia’s greatest cartoonist – a multiple Walkley Award Winner.
Above all, Larry Pickering loved this country – the best country in the world.
He was a patriot who, through his work, fought to preserve its freedoms and values.
by Larry Pickering
Many of us came from convict backgrounds, sent in to exile for stealing a coat or a loaf of bread or a silver spoon. Some came for murder and robbery or prostitution. Tough people. Many came from China to work on the Gold Fields. Some came from Italy to work on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electricity scheme. Some came from Hungary during the Revolution. Some came from Vietnam during the Vietnam War. But they came for a chance to work and start a new life.
And they worked hard !! The Greeks, Serbs, and Irish, so many more that it would be impossible to name. There were no hand-outs, no privileges offered. These people were given a chance to start a new life, in Australia, to become Australians. And Australians they became. They learned English and embraced our country while offering the gift of their food and culture and music. We accepted that gift and sat together at the same table and laughed and drank their wine, ate their food, danced to their music and married and loved their people. As they did us. I have spoken with friends from Hungarian, Italian etc, backgrounds and, while they embrace and celebrate their roots, they consider themselves Australian. The common denominator with this terrible situation that we find ourselves in is that our current immigrant population do not want to embrace our culture but to destroy it. They do not want to learn our language, but to annihilate it. They do not want to work but to get us to work for them.
When our feminists ignore the genital mutilation, oppression of women, rape of little children of both sexes, we have a problem. When our Politicians condemn an elected member of the Dutch Parliament for coming to Australia to speak his views, we have a problem. When Australians are callously-murdered in cold blood by immigrants of any Nationality, Religion or Race and our Government offers sympathy to the family of the perpetrator of the crime before offering sympathy to the family of the victim, then we have a problem. When Australians are living below the poverty line and have nowhere to live while immigrants of any Nationality, Religion or Race are prioritised, then we have a problem. When 16,000 English-speaking skilled-professional workers are refused visas and 12,000 uneducated, non-English speaking refugees are accepted, then, guess what, we have a problem. When Australians are called racists and bigots for speaking out about their concerns about the above, then again, we as a Nation, have a problem. When people prefer to debate the best bachelor or best contestant on X Factor to debating our Nation’s future, our children’s future and our grandchildren’s future, well, you got it, we have a problem. When our news is censored and we have to delve in to the internet to find out what is happening in the world and in our own country, dare I say, we have a problem.
The one thing that sets Australia apart from almost any other Nation on Earth is the Aussie spirit. It can be seen as a “she’ll be right mate” attitude that suggests apathy; or “she’ll be right mate” because we will take care of it. I went and saw “Bridge of Lies” yesterday and it is well worth the watch. The Berlin Wall was put up to separate two different Political views. It was a physical wall.
Today, we have a wall being built in Australia.
It is not made of bricks and mortar. It is made of censorship, Political Correctness and insidious manipulation through media control, Acts of Parliament and Social media trolls.
There is no razor wire, no watch towers. Just the ability to call someone a racist. I am reminded of the words in the old childhood saying: “Sticks and Stones may break my bones – but words will never hurt me.”
Well today, apparently words can hurt you, but only if you live on the side of the wall that our Government and Politicians have elected as the “right” side of the wall. No longer are people in Australia even able to scale a wall. Bullets are not needed.
To shoot us down, all that is needed is to call us racists or bigots.
I am hoping that the Aussie “she’ll be right mate” translates to “don’t worry, we will take care of it” and rise up and say that this is our country Friends, this is not a Refugee crisis.
This is an Australia Crisis.
I fear that it will be too late if something does not happen while we still have enough Aussies left. – Larry Pickering
from Larry Pickering
There was the brilliant Lewis Jetta’s celebration of a goal that looked more like a Kabuki fan dance but no simulated spear throwing, no “up your bum” aggressive arm and fist gestures, no charging at astonished patrons, no little girls ejected from the ground… actually the weekend’s footy had no nasty racist incidents at all! Could it be that Adam Goodes decided to stay home?
Goodes was shocked at the average Aussie’s reaction to his disgraceful antics, but he shouldn’t have been, he should have been grateful that some disgusted footy fan hadn’t jumped the fence and jobbed him!
Media’s Left had emboldened him and adorned him with an undeserved Australian of the Year prize. He started to believe his and their bullshit. He only mixed in white Aboriginal circles that promoted an Aboriginal victim mentality.
Well, Adam was served a dose of reality from real Australians who believe this land is theirs too. He clearly didn’t appreciate that much, so he took a week off to sulk.
How dare you tell me you’re more Australian than me you bastard? I was born here before you were! I understand this land better than you!
Come bush with me Adam and I’ll show you what it’s like to spend three months at a time fencing on horseback. I’ll show you how to catch perch without a hook and how to cook it, where to find bush fruit and vegetables, how to make real ‘roo tail soup, bake wild tomato damper and cook an emu egg omelette.
I’ll explain what snakes taste best and when you tire of that fare I’ll show you how to catch a feed of teal duck without a gun and what firewood will last all night to keep the dingoes at bay.
Or why not take six months off, like I did a few years ago, and I’ll show you an inaccessible Australia from an R22 helicopter you are never likely to see. But I guess you are too busy with gala celebrity appointments where fawning activists regurgitate your bullshit.
You want to share this land with me, Adam? You’re welcome… but never tell me it’s not mine too, and never taint our national game with your vile racism.
WHY I REALLY DON’T LIKE BILL SHORTEN
By Larry Pickering
Apart from having the sort of head you’d never get tired of kicking, Bill Shorten, to put it bluntly is a dog of a bloke. What rankles me most is not his politics or his lack of loyalty but how he treated a good friend of mine.
That good friend is a dinky-di, true blue Labor party bloke, an AWU Secretary with an unusual ambition… to do the absolute best he could for the workers. That bloke’s name is Bob Kernohan.
In the mid 1990s Bob became aware that a Bruce Wilson, WA Secretary of the same union, and his girlfriend, Julia Gillard, had been systematically stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his union members.
Bob was determined to expose the fraud and have the money returned to union members. He wrote a detailed, comprehensive affidavit on the activities of the two crooks and publicised it, causing AWU heavyweights a great deal of angst.
One of those AWU officials who was very annoyed was Bill Shorten, who was having it off with Nicola Roxon at the time.
Bill Shorten approached Bob Kernohan and told him to desist from exposing the scam saying, “This could bring us all down”. Bob quite rightly ignored the request.
Undeterred, Bill Shorten, with AWU supremo Bill Ludwig’s blessing, then offered Bob the safe Labor seat of Melton in the Victorian Parliament’s Lower House.
Bob refused the offer, saying, “I couldn’t live with myself if I accepted that”.
Bob, with the help of friends, continued to unearth the scam, which was by now gaining traction in the media.
“Then, late one night, Bob found himself cornered by four of the AWU’s best thugs.”
After receiving some heavy blows from all sides, Bob fell to the ground in a foetal position trying to protect his head with his arms.
A hail of work boots found their mark. His head, chest and stomach felt the pain of broken bone and torn tissue.
After what seemed an age they left Bob, bleeding and semi conscious, on the sidewalk.
He has never recovered from that cowardly assault. The injuries he sustained, both physical and mental, have stayed with him… they have affected every aspect of his life.
Now in hiding, he still he did not flinch from trying to restore members’ funds stolen by Gillard and Wilson.
The next trick was to send him bullets in the mail and make threatening phone calls at all hours of the night. Still Bob stayed the course.
Latest reports from Vic Police are that they have “ample evidence” to charge both Gillard and Wilson. They await a judge’s ruling on further material Wilson is attempting to have suppressed.
It would be nice if, before Bob leaves us, this matter was resolved and just over a million dollars was returned to Bob’s members.
… and that’s why I really don’t like Bill Shorten.