PNG SCHOOLS FAIL STUDENTS
VIC PARKINSON

Vale Gordon Tripp

Richard Jones forwards the melancholy news that Gordon Tripp, the noted artist and cartoonist, died last June in the Kyneton region of Victoria, where he had settled with wife Cheryl. Gordon had many gigs in Port Moresby in the sixties and seventies but none more tempestuous than one I happened to share with him when we both freelanced for the notorious Black and White magazine.

Black and White published 27 issues between 1966 and 1969 and I contributed to three or four of the early ones before bailing out, as I think Gordon did also, deeply concerned about the mental state and cultural views of the publisher and editor, Henry Lachajcak.

New_pa8 In recent years Gordon contributed cartoons to The Kilmore Free Press. Fran Bailey MP, the Federal Member for McEwen and controversial Minister for Small Business and Tourism, has written of him: “Gordon had a knack of capturing the essence of an issue with a few deft swipes of his pen.” On her website, Fran includes a few of her favourite cartoons “even if they don't always show me in the best light!” I reproduce one of them here. You can find more of Gordon’s cartoons on Fran Bailey’s website.

Comments

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Tara McMahon

I do not expect this to be posted. I have a vague memory of the surname Tripp.

My father was Bill McMahon who was involved with the sanitary and garbage company in TPNG. I was born in TPNG having left when my parents spilt in 1967.

I have one issue of Black and White where there are cartoons featuring the rubbish collection - very funny I might add.

I have been told that there were various issues that featured the same business and I would love to know where I can locate copies of same.

As my parents passed on about 15 years ago, I would love to be able to show my children some aspects of our life in the territory.

I am hoping that you may be able to pass on my email to the man who published the magazine or someone that can help me with this inquiry.

Thank you for your time.
_________

The editor of B&W, Henry Lachajczak, may be able to assist. About four years ago his email address was henril@onthenet.com.au. But don't mention my name. He wasn't very impressed when I said (truthfully) that I once wrote for B&W - KJ

Keith Jackson

Black & White, if my recollection is accurate, was started by Henry after he had a contretemps with the management of the Post-Courier (or was it still the South Pacific Post at that time?).

It was a bold move by Henry. Satire was all the rage in Australia (Oz Magazine) and the UK (Private Eye and London Oz) - but PNG, under a nervy Australian administration, was quite another challenge.

Henry produced a lively, topical and frequently very funny publication.

Henry's prose was then, as it is now, fluid and compelling. Gordon's illustrations were insightful, hilarious and an elemental part of the magazine.

Henry could be a hard guy to get on with, but I remember some very good moments - both at his home where the mag was put together and at the nearby club (was it the Aviat?) where we shared some convivial jugs and some good conversations (which Henry clearly does not recall).

I readily accept Henry's statement that Gordon and he were a great partnership and that Gordon was there until the magazine finally saw its last issue.

Memory plays its games, but what is on printed page so frequently bears its own truth.

Henry Lachajczak

Do that. But please honour Gordon's memory by apologising for the crap about his parting with BLACK & WHITE.

That man and I were a team who used satire as a tool to soften the rigors of life in PNG at the time. It took an Act of Parliament to close down the mag, by people ignorant of what freedom of speech and satire means.

I still don't know who you are. Over the years I've met many people who said they knew me because of my record with that magazine. Few were even remotely familiar, some were just wankers. I've a lot of fun with them.

Keith Jackson

It's been a long time between drinks, Henry, but I do know you and you've obviously forgotten me.

I contributed to three, I think, issues of Black and White in early 1967. I'll dig out the pieces if you like. From memory, one was on happenings in the Education Department and another was about the Miss PNG quest.

Just for the record.

Henry Lachajczak

Hello! I don't know you and obviously you don't know me. My name is Henry Lachajczak. I published a very popular satirical magazine in Port Moresby in the '60s, with the dedicated assistance of that very talented artist Gordon Tripp.

Gordon was with me to the bitter end. His cover of the final issue of BLACK & WHITE magazine of August 1969 still brings a lump to my throat.

A copy of his cartoon book, which we put together ("Tripp around the TERROR-tory"), is among my treasured possessions, together with some of his brilliant water colours.

The reason for this note is to dispel any fantasy you may have ever had about being associated with my magazine. As I say, I don't know you, I've never met you, and I don't think I'd like you if I did.

The suggestion that Gordon and I parted company during the publication of BLACK & WHITE is a serious untruth.

We were friends and professional associates for the life of the magazine, and beyond. Hopefully this sets the record straight.

Richard E. Jones

ONE of Trippy's artworks has surfaced in the Sydney suburb of Waverley.
Titled The Hiri and depicting those unique Papuan ocean-going canoes which had huge crab-claw shaped sails it was painted in 1965.
The water colour work was apparently entered in the seascape section of the 1965 PNG outdoor art show and exhibition.
Sarah Palmer of LostMyWay -- perfect gifts unearthed which can be found in Bronte Road, Waverley says the price on the back of the water colour is 30 guineas.
The Tripp artwork measures 33 cm wide by 53 cm high, Sarah adds.
Anyone interested can look Trippy's work up on Sarah's website at www.lostmyway.com.au

Richard E. Jones

Andrea Williams from the PNG Association of Australia advises that Dr Peter Cahill of the Univ. of Qld. would dearly love to have as much of Gordon's work as possible preserved in the Fryer Library.
Peter collects, catalogues and conserves items of significant PNG historical interest for the library.
Once catalogued collections can be accessed through the Fryer Library.
I have already sent Andrea and Keith J. photocopies of three of Gordon's whimsical cartoons from a 1970 booklet entitled "Tripp Around The Territory". I marked the book "Amazon Bay, 1970" so must have bought it when on leave in Moresby from Amazon Bay at one of the school term breaks that year --- my last in primary teaching.

Keith Jackson

Thanks for the supplemental information, Richard. Gordon's death was a real tragedy. I think most of our colleagues will agree that three scores and ten does not qualify as 'old age' these days.

Richard E. Jones

Turns out Trippy had been checked into a hospital for removal of an intestinal polyp. Not a life-threatening procedure and nor was the polyp even cancerous. But he believed it needed taking out so had the procedure done. Lo and behold - the dreaded golden staph kicked in and our cartoonist colleague's health deteriorated. When pneumonia was contracted the end was nigh for our man and he passed away aged 70. Very sad considering he could have lived on, polyp and all.

Will dig out my compendium copy of 'The Best Of' Trippy - the pick of his whimsical cartoons for Black and White magazine. From memory there were a cuppla classics. I saw my copy a few months ago in one of the bookshelves here at home so maybe Keithy will be interested.

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