Who is Cecil Hartt?

By Gwylym Owen

Cecil Lawrence Hartt (August 1884 – 17/19 May 1930) was an Australian cartoonist, born in Prahran, Victoria.

He associated the 18th Battalion of the First AIF to come in 1915, shortly after the outbreak of World War I and was injured at Hill 60. He had been contributing cartoons and sketches to The Bulletin before enlisting, and continued after 1916 in the broadcast of was invalided to London. As much as anyone, he was blamed for the portrayal of the Australian “digger” as independent, easygoing and disrespectful of authority. During his convalescence, he contributed to The London Bystander, Passing Show and London Opinion, then worked as a staff sergeant leading a camouflage team.

He was a good buddy of the poet Henry Lawson.

He was Smith’s Weekly’s first cartoonist, joining in 1919 and perfected his image of the “digger” in hundreds of joke drawings, particularly in its Unofficial History of the AIF pages. After his death, this be active was continued by Frank Dunne.

He was the first president of the Society of Australian Black-and-White Artists from 1924 and reelected in 1925. (Soon misrepresented its broadcast to “Black-and-White Artists Society”, then “Black-and-White Artists Club” and is now the “Australian Cartoonists Association”.)

He was married to Ruby Adelaide Manners from 1909 to 1923 with they divorced.

He killed himself upon a unfriendly road near Moruya, New South Wales later than a shotgun to the head after complaining of “feeling rundown” and “needing a holiday”. He left a widow Iris (later Smart) and three-year-old daughter Diana and a son Lawrence Chambers Hartt (1910–1942). Lawrence was killed in exploit in Port Moresby during World War Two.

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