Tony Rafty Australia

12 October 1915 in Australia
9 October 2015 in Australia
99 years
Credited for


Also known as

Anthony Raftopoulos (birth name)


Tony Rafty (2000?)

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Design & Art Australia Online


Wikipedia (English)


Rafty started drawing caricatures whilst caddying during the depression, having left school aged 14 due to his family’s poverty.

Already recognised for his caddying, Rafty became known as a cartoonist as early as 1935. He provided his first public artwork for The Bulletin (possibly in 1936, at the request of Jimmy Bancks), The Labour Daily and The Referee (~1939, the year this sporting magazine was closed by Ezra Norton, later owner of Invincible Press).

In 1937 he wrote and drew 'As the Caddy Sees the Golfer' for The Sun followed by the comic strip 'Mr. Muggs', also based on his golf caddy experience. 'Mr Muggs' ended in mid-1940, leading to a gap in Rafty's newspaper work when he probably sought work from NSW Bookstall.

Rafty reports that, on a regular visit to Brendan Dowling—NSW Bookstall's 'boss at the time'—he was asked to do a comic. This became Jimmy Rodney on Secret Service, the first in NSW Bookstall's new line, published in late 1940. Typical of the emerging Australian approach, Rafty was responsible for all aspects of the comic—writing, art, lettering and cover.

Rafty later briefly drew newspaper cartoons under the title Passing Show. Beginning Monday 6 October 1941 and preceded by strong daily promotion, Rafty wrote and drew newspaper strip Dick Tarrant about a boxing champion who fell foul of 'The Shadow' and his underworld syndicate. The series ended abruptly mid-story on Saturday 3 January 1942, due to Rafty's enlistment in the AIF, where he became war artist and journalist for the Australian army, serving in New Guinea, Borneo and Singapore. He sketched the surrender of the Japanese in Singapore, and covered the release of POWs from prison camps.

Rafty freelanced for a period, including illustrations for World's News and Sporting Life. He rejoined the Sun and Sun-Herald in 1962 as cartoonist and illustrator, until 1981.

He is known for his caricatures and claims to have done about 20,000 drawings. He also provided courtroom sketches for news bulletins on the Seven Network.

A long-time member of the Australian Black and White Artists’ Club, he was elected President in 1975 and life member in 1991. He received a Silver Stanley in 1997. He was also a former president of the Sydney Journalists’ Club and member of the War Correspondents’ Association. He received an OAM in 1991.

Showing items 1 to 9 of 9

Australian printings by date (Try a search for more information)    
Zip Comics (NSW Bookstall, 1940?) (1940)
The Oil Seekers
Comic: Cover
Zip Comics (NSW Bookstall, 1940?) (1940)
The Oil Seekers
Comic: Comic story
Jimmy Rodney on Secret Service (NSW Bookstall, 1940?) (December 1940)
Comic: Cover
Jimmy Rodney on Secret Service (NSW Bookstall, 1940?) (December 1940)
Jimmy Rodney on Secret Service
Comic: Comic story
World's News (ANL, 1901 series) #2647 (13 September 1952)
1942 Pirates Plunder at Australia's Front Door
Magazine: Text article
World's News (ANL, 1901 series) #2647 (13 September 1952)
Science Fights the Rat
Magazine: Text article
World's News (ANL, 1901 series) #2686 (13 June 1953)
He Murdered for Love
Magazine: Text story
Sporting Life (ANL, 1946 series) March 1956 (March 1956)
The Success Story of Smasher Mackay
Magazine: Text article
Sporting Life (ANL, 1946 series) October 1956 (October 1956)
The Girl with the Dolphon Legs
Magazine: Text article



  • 14 Jul 2018

Last updated

  • 30 Oct 2020