Historical information

This political cartoon depicts a black and white drawing; “General Depression”, a large ugly man wearing a German pike helmut, representing the Great Depression which Australians suffered from 1929 through the 1930s with a period of high unemployment, poverty, low profits, deflation, plunging incomes, and lost opportunities for economic growth and personal advancement.

This figure overshadows a small man, representing Prime Minster James Scullin with a suitcase labelled “Jim S, London to Australia”. This is a reference to the PM’s decision to travel to London to seek an emergency loan and to attend the Imperial Conference (a meeting of Prime Ministers of the British Empire) He is holding a sling shot.

The image has a “David and Goliath theme” denoting Australia as the underdog, a contest where a smaller, weaker opponent faces a much bigger, stronger adversary.

The artist Percy Leason (1889 - 1959) was a painter and cartoonist renowned for his depictions of Australian society in the 1920s and 1930s. He lived in Eltham at his property 'Landscape' which he built in New Street (present day Lavender Park Road) from about 1924 to 1938 when he moved to the USA. In 1931 his cartoons were published in the Melbourne magazine “Table Talk” (although it cannot be confirmed that this one was).

The original source of this image for the SEPP collection was the Publisher Thomas Nelson based in Melbourne.


This photo forms part of a collection of photographs gathered by the Shire of Eltham for their centenary project book,"Pioneers and Painters: 100 years of the Shire of Eltham" by Alan Marshall (1971). The collection of over 500 images is held in partnership between Eltham District Historical Society and Yarra Plenty Regional Library (Eltham Library) and is now formally known as 'The Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph Collection.'
It is significant in being the first community sourced collection representing the places and people of the Shire's first one hundred years.

Physical description

Digital image and 4 x 5 inch B&W Neg