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J. C. Bancks J. C. Bancks i(A59205 works by) (birth name: James Charles Bancks) (a.k.a. Jim Bancks; Bancks; Jimmy Bancks)
Born: Established: 10 May 1889 Enmore, Marrickville - Camperdown area, Sydney Southern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 1 Jul 1952 Point Piper, Sydney Eastern Harbourside, Sydney Eastern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
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Regarded as one of Australia's most significant caricaturists, J. C. Bancks was employed by a variety of publications throughout his long and successful career, including Green Room, The Bulletin, Sunday Sun, Sunday Telegraph, and Sun News Pictorial. He began his career as a cartoonist in 1911, when Comic Australian published some of his work. In 1914, he became a full-time illustrator for the Bulletin. In 1922, Bancks created the classic Australian comic character Ginger Meggs under the strip title Us Fellers, a series that continued for the next thirty years or more. The comic strip also reached audiences in England and Australia by the late 1930s.

In 1934, Bancks and Australian composer Charles Zwar collaborated to create Blue Mountains Melody, a romantic musical comedy produced by J. C. Williamson's Ltd in Sydney (6 weeks) and Melbourne (7 weeks). Bancks was assisted in writing the dialogue by his then wife Jessie, daughter of E. J. Tait and a well-known stage and dress designer in her own right. That same year, Bancks also provided material for several revues. One of these, Now and Then, was a fundraiser for Sydney's Free Kindergartens. Staged at the Savoy Theatre on 31 October, Bancks' contribution was 'Spring.' The other sketch was worked into the Young Australian League Company's show Round the World Revue. The original music was scored by Jack O'Hagan and the show was directed and produced by Ernest C. Rolls. This production, which starred a young Billy Kerr, was said to recall the best days of Pollard's Lilliputian Opera Company. In February 1935, following seasons in Sydney (December 1934) and Melbourne (January 1915), the company left Australia for an overseas tour, beginning in South Africa.

Bancks died suddenly on 1 July 1952 of coronary vascular disease.

Most Referenced Works


  • Sources list variant date of birth: Australian Dictionary of Biography lists 10 May 1889 and Dictionary of Australian Artists Online lists 26 May 1889.

  • Illustrator for The Sunshine Family (1923) erroneously listed as H. Bancks; ACB states 'The second illustrator was actually J. C. Banks, creator of "Ginger Meggs", his name appearing incorrectly here.'

    [Source: Marcie Muir and Kerry White, Australian Children's Books, 1992-2004.]

  • See also the full Australian Dictionary of Biography Online entry for 'James Charles (Jim) Bancks, (1889-1952)' 7 (1979).

  • This entry has been sourced from research undertaken by Dr Clay Djubal into Australian-written popular music theatre (ca. 1850-1930). See also the Australian Variety Theatre Archive

Last amended 13 Nov 2016 13:12:24
Influence on:
The Adventures of Ginger Meggs Ray Lawler , 1952 single work musical theatre
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