Not so much a legendary strip more a resonant social history per se
written by Barry Humphries
drawn by Nicholas Garland
With a preface by Sir Les Patterson
I wasn’t always Australia’s most high-profiled elder Statesman. Back in the sixties I done a stint with the Department of Customs and Excise (Literature Division): I guess I was the only bastard in the outfit who could read. I’ll never forget the day Barry McKenzie lobbed onto my in-tray. It was a Private Eye publication and since Private Eye was banned in Australia at the time for gratuitous smut and uncalled-for lingo, I decided to take Bazza’s adventures into the toilet with me for a swift perusal during my mid-morning crap. Sure enough, it was bloody disgusting and written by a long-haired Melbourne ex-pat called Brian Humphry, who was already on our blacklist for tipping the bucket on his superlative homeland for an easy quid. I was so appalled by what I read that I put most of the book behind me as quickly as possible before flushing it down the big white telephone. ‘If that is the impression the Poms have got of young Australian manhood the bloke responsible deserves to be strung up by the pills,’ I reflected, taking pull on the nearest thing that came to hand. It happened to be a hipflask of Black Label. Me and the lads banned it immediately and I was that angry I even rang up my brother-in-law Brenden in the Taxation Department and told him to give that bastard Brian Humphry buggery.
Times have changed, I suppose, and the permissive society has even penetrated the Australian Cultural Scene, which is, let’s face it, largely run by pillow biters and raving mattress munchers. Even a man like me who would never tell an off-colour yarn in front of the womenfolk - an old-fashioned family man who still believes that his nation’s international image ought to be squeaky-clean - has had to bow to the Winds of Change. I guess this book wouldn’t fool overseas readers in this day and age. Ambassadors like Rupert Murdoch, Joanie Sutherland, little Livie Newton, Paul Hogan, Clive Germs, and me have demonstrated to the world that real Australians can be intellectual, nicely spoken and cultured without necessarily drilling for Vegemite.*
Clued-up readers will be quick to discern in the forgoing pages a crude and anachronistic fuckin' travesty of an Australia that never existed, thank Christ. This book has lost all power to hurt us or stem the tide of tourists, without whom our economy would be down the gurgler. McKenzie do your worst!
Dictated by Dr Sir Leslie Colin Patterson and signed in his absence by research assistant Nerida Constantinedes.
* An obscure Australian usage unknown to us. (The Publisher)
Copyright © Barry Humphries and Nicholas Garland 1968, 1971, 1979
A Methuen Paperback
ISBN 0 413 19310 1