Born in Frederick Bay, Tasmania, Syd Nicholls was a pioneer of Australian comic art and the creator of the comic characters 'Fatty Finn' and 'Middy Malone'.
Nicholls studied at the Royal Art Society, and produced cartoons for the International Socialist, the Bulletin and Direct Action during World War I, one of his controversial cartoons landing Direct Action's editor in prison for 'prejudicing recruiting'. This brought him a reputation which made it difficult to get work in comics, so for a while he designed motion picture posters, studying art title design in the United States.
Fatty Finn is the scruffy six-year-old leader of a gang of kids in the dockside suburb of Woolloomooloo in Sydney. When Fatty enters his pet goat Hector in a local goat race, his rival Bruiser Murphy does his best to make sure that Hector won't win. He manages to let Hector loose in the grounds of a Potts Point mansion, where he eats a large portion of the prize garden. The owner locks the goat up, so Fatty and his gang sign an oath in blood to bust Hector out. With no time to get to the races, Fatty persuades a friendly aviator to fly Hector to the race track .(...more)
Who wouldn't want to watch the last silent film made in Australia? Also, there's a goat race.
Watch The Kid Stakes courtesy of the Internet Archive below.
To see the Internet Archive's page for The Kid Stakes, complete with thumbnail images of stills from the film, click here.
From the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin:
The race for "The Kid Stakes " was filmed at Rockhampton, where these races are a popular sport, and it can safely be said that this sequence is one of the most exciting ever recorded by the camera.
(13 September 1927, p.5).
To see this review in its entirety (via Trove), click here.
As to why the goat race in The Kid Stakes was filmed in Rockhampton?
From the Brisbane Courier:
The thrilling sport of goat racing, which has caused so many skinned elbows and torn clothes in the ranks of Queensland's younger generation of sportsmen is prohibited in New South Wales, and is an offence in the eyes of the law.
(9 September 1927, p.12.)
See which particular law led to this banning by reading the full article here (via Trove).
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