The cartoon is a series of scenes relating to the struggle of a small naked baby. In the middle is a black disk, Flying over it is a stork carrying the baby in a blanket with its beak. Top scene is the baby standing on steps looking at a door with a sign on it reading [SAIREY / GAMP. Text under the scene [A dangerous / locality.]. Top right scene baby on a bush track with swag on its back looking at a road sign with [TO THE / NEVER NEVER / COUNTRY], written on it. Written to the left of the scene [Go on the / land young / man.]. Next scene on right has baby pushing at a door, sign next to door reads [PATENT / MEDICINE / COMPANY], written to the right of the scene [Not always / a good / place to call.] Middle right scene of baby walking away crying from a doorway with a large lady standing in doorway, sign in window next to door reads [ROOM TO LET / SUIT MARRIED / COUPLE / NO / ENCUMBRANC], written above the scene [The landlady: "How dare / you call around here, you / little imp?". Scene in bottom right corner of a man digging a hole, wearing a check shirt and smoking a pipe, written under the scene [Finis / "Unwept, unhonoured, / and unsung."]. In middle bottom is a scroll with [BEING THE / STRANGE / ADVENTURES / OF A LITTLE / 'NOT WANTED' / AN ALLEGORY] written on it. Scene bottom left is of a woman in black robes leading the baby through a door in a stone wall, Sign reading [WANTED / TO ADOPT / BABY BOY / OR GIRL / GOOD HOME] next to door. Written to right of scene [Danger!] Scene on left above this is off young well dressed ladies holding parasols looking at baby who is slinking away, with ["Good gracious! / What object is / this? We don't / want it."] written in middle of the scene. Scene left middle is of a a lady carrying a dog and reeling away from the passing baby. Written under the scene [Lady with dog: "Go / away you naughty boy / you've frightened Fido." Top left corner scene is of a man standing on a veranda looking down at baby who is caring a swag on back and holding a billy. Sign on post near man reads [WANTED / MARRIED / COUPLES / FOR FARM / NO / ENCUMBRANCES], Written above this scene [The little immigrant can't even / find quarters in the back - / blocks at times].
Ben Strange signature bottom middle

Historical information

Since the 1890s Western Australia had been providing assistance to migrants from the United Kingdom, primarily by subsidising their travel costs. The program was primarily aimed at bringing in farmers, labourers and domestic staff with the aim of them arriving, settling down, starting a family and boosting the birth rate.
Since 1909 approximately 30,000 assisted or nominated immigrants from Great Britain had arrived in Western Australia who in 1911 had a population of approximately 288,000 people.
I00 arrived in WA from SA and VIc). In 1912 there was also debate about children, mainly boys, from urban slums arriving in Australia from Great Britain through the Child Emigration Society, started by Kingsley Fairbridge. Fairbridge had started a farm north of Pinjarra to house and train these children.
Around this time there was also a pro-Australian born sentiment and a desire to see Australia's and Western Australia's population grow through a higher birth rate, not migration.
In this cartoon Ben seems to be commenting on a general attitude within Western Australia that was against migrants bringing in children as they were seen as a burden particularly in Perth. The parents and the children (possibly focussing on the Fairbridge children) were expected to go into the expanding agricultural zones. The cartoon finishes with Ben's belief that these children would grow into the labourers who would quietly do the hard work that those who rejected them would need done and without the recognition they deserve.



Registration number
57.7000 cm
38.3000 cm
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

Organisation Details
View Collection
Item Feedback

Scan this QR code to open this page on your phone ->