Edwin (Ted) Cannon was born at Ballarat on 30 July 1895, the only son of Edwin and Florence Cannon. He studied art at the Ballarat School of Mines Technical Art School. Ted displayed a talent for industrial design but it was his black and white work that 'drew' most attention. His cartoons and caricatures, heavily influenced by Phil May, were of a particularly high standard. During the Ballarat Exhibition of 1913 Ted's work was singled out for notice and he was awarded First Prize.
After completing his art course Ted was employed as an assistant teacher at the Ballarat Technical Art School, before taking a position as cartoonist with the Ballarat Star newspaper at the end of 1914. With the war raging in Europe Ted discovered a darker aspect for his artwork, but, still, he could not resist depicting Turkey as a full-feathered, fez-wearing bird. In 1915 Ted was awarded the prestigious Victorian Education Department Senior Technical School Scholarship. Only months into his scholarship, Ted volunteered for the AIF. A keen member of the local 71st "City of Ballarat" Regiment Ted was already primed for a life in the army. He embarked from Port Melbourne on 23 November 1915 with reinforcements to the 6th Infantry Battalion bound for Egypt.
It was during the Battle of Pozieres on the Western Front that Ted Cannon came into his own. His work with the Scout Platoon (under the command of Lieutenant Jack Rogers) sketching the enemy's gun emplacements proved invaluable to the Brigade and brought Ted to the attention of the Australian High Command. On 13 September 1916 Ted was given a special assignment for General C.B.B. White. Ted was sent out forward of the Old Mill at Verbrandenmolen (in the Ypres Salient) to draw a panorama of the German lines in the area from Hill 60 to The Bluff. It was a hazardous task and Ted was warned to be careful. Tragically he was sniped by an enemy machine-gunner and sustained severe abdominal wounds. Stretcher-bearers rushed him to the 17th Casualty Clearing Station where he was operated on by the doctors at 8.30 that night. With little chance of success, but ever resilient, Ted remained conscious almost to the end. He died early in the morning of the 14 September 1916. His body was buried in the large Military Cemetery at Lijssenthoek.
Digital images of a number of cartoons published in the Ballarat School of Mines Students' Magazine, 1916. Ted Cannon sent cartoons home to Ballarat from the World War One front.