Scene is of a run down room with four figures in it. The figure on the left is of a young girl sitting down with her head between her hands. The middle figure is of a woman in a white blouse and a worn black dress, frayed at the bottom, holding a toddler. The fourth figure is a man in a suit standing with his hands out and smoking a cigar. The window in the background has broken panes of glass. There are cracks in the roof. The room also features a empty fireplace on the left, two simple wooden chairs and a table. There is a small framed artwork on the wall behind the man.
Ben Strange signature bottom right.
When the cartoon was published in the Western Mail on 6 September 1923 if featured the caption:
The Slum Lord "Lovely Home! Pleasant surroundings and in the best and thickest part of the City too, I must raise the Rent! And what a Lovely Child! What will he be when he grows up?" Rent - Riched Tenant: "A Bolshevik, with your kindly encouragement!"'

Historical information

In the early 1920s Perth along with many other Australian capital cities were suffering from rising commercial and domestic rents, particularly in areas close to the city centres. Landlords would nor only raise rents but also over charge tenants for the furniture.
Unions and community organisations campaigned against the rising cost of living which included rents.
On 3 August 1923 a public meeting was held at the Perth Town Hall by the National Council of Women and included councillors and Mayor of the City of Perth. The meeting discussed issues of overcrowding in domestic dwellings caused by a shortage of housing. Mrs J Cown MLA read a letter from Dr Roberta Jull about the health concerns overcrowding raised. Other issues raised was the cost of materials to build new houses.
In early August 1923 Thomas John 'Driver' Hughes MLA the Labor member for East Perth raised in parliament the need for government intervention regarding rent control and the introduction of a fair rent court. The government did not support the move and when Mr Hughes introduced the Control of Rents Bill in September of that year it was defeated by only one vote.
Ben Strange was also concerned about the rising cost of living and its effects on the community, though in his case it was the threat of communism and how forcing people to live in 'slum' conditions would push people towards Bolshevism which he believed was a threat to society.



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Artist's signature bottom right [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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