Scene of Father Christmas walking along a bush track leading a reindeer loaded with a full pack. A sign sits along the side of the road reads [TO THE SILVER / CHAIN FETE]. A swarm of flies are around Father Christmas's head. A kookaburra sits on the sign. Text written on the bottom of the scene [The Long Trek From The North / Santa Claus: 'A bit on the warm / side, but although From the / North I'm at home in any / climate and I mean to see / this Silver Chain Fete / through.].
Ben Strange signature bottom left corner.
The cartoon was published in the Western Mail on 9 December 1920 with no caption.

Historical information

This cartoon was published in the Christmas Issue of the Western Mail 9/12/1920. This special edition included artwork by H Van Raalte and Amy Heap and Ben Strange. His cartoon promoted the Silver Chain Christmas Tree Fete (a major fund raiser for the Silver chain) and had fun at how Australian artists liked to portray Father Christmas in his seasonal northern hemisphere attire when visiting Australia.
The Silver Chain was a private organisation who employed nurses to provided medical care and education primarily for pregnant women and new mothers. In the late 1890s and early 1900s Western Australia had one of the worst infant mortality rates in the Commonwealth. The Western Mail played an important role in raising the funds to start the Silver Chain in 1905.
For many years a Christmas fete was held by the Western Mail to raise funds for the organisation. Ben Strange for a number of years produced a special cartoon to promote the fete. One year he even agreed to play Father Christmas at the fete.
The Silver Chain still operates today, providing in home medical care for many members of the community.



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Inscriptions and markings

Artist's signature bottom left [Ben Strange]

Statement of significance

The Ben Strange cartoons are historically significant as they depict many key figures linked to the history and development of both Western Australia and Australia. Political figures who regularly appeared in his cartoon’s included John ‘Happy Jack’ Scaddan, the Premier of Western Australia from 1911 until 1916, and William ‘Billy’ Hughes, the Prime Minister of Australia from 1915 to 1923.

City of Armadale - History House

City of Armadale - History House

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