‘Jonas’ and the Whale

Yankee Whaling

While today (in most parts of the world) whaling is thankfully banned, in the past, whaling was an occupation that was carried out regularly. Whales were hunted to extremes for their blubber, oil and bones. Western Australia was no exception with whaling being an early industry in the colony. Early accounts indicate great excitement at whales being killed and reports were regularly printed in the papers. On 2 September 1843, the Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal printed an article recounting the news for the whaling industry for the previous fortnight. They then went on to describe “a curious scene” in Fremantle.

Numerous whales had been attacked by the whalers however it was reported that one of them had been harpooned and then managed to pull away, dragging the boat and its occupants with it. Near Straggler Rocks it began to dive and the whalers in the boat had no choice than to cut the rope attached to the harpoon.

Thinking that they had lost the whale, the whalers returned to shore. A few days later news soon spread that the whale had in fact died from its wounds and had been found washed up on North Beach, located a few miles from Fremantle. The whalers gathered what they needed and headed straight to the beach, hoping to recover as much of the whale as possible.

Meanwhile, news also reached Perth of the whale on the beach. The fascination at seeing a whale close up was too much for some and as it was only an hour’s ride from Perth to the Fremantle area, many people took off on their horses to catch a glimpse of it. One amongst the group was a young man, suitably nicknamed ‘Jonas’ by the paper, perhaps in a bid to protect his identity.

‘Jonas’ arrived and noticing that the first spade was about to be dug in, decided to seize the opportunity of being first for himself. He jumped on top of the whale and dug in his spade, only to be met with an almighty explosion! There was nowhere else for ‘Jonas’ to go but down into the rotting belly of the whale.

Initially everyone laughed at his predicament but seeing as though ‘Jonas’ was struggling, they quickly went about undertaking the difficult task of rescuing him from inside the whale. ‘Jonas’ was safely returned to land unhurt but left in a rather putrid state.

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The Dude

True to form, it was while digging around on Trove trying to find something interesting to post for Valentine’s Day (yes, this post has been sitting in draft form for quite a while) that I came across a reference of ladies admiring dudes.

Initially, I laughed. I thought about the word ‘dude’ and the context in which I knew it existed. It’s been around throughout my lifetime and has been spoken by characters such as Bart Simpson. To say hello to someone, you might say, “Hey, dude!” While referring to someone, you might call them a ‘cool dude’. I again thought back to the article and giggled some more. The word in my head was most likely completely at odds to the meaning portrayed in 1885. Ladies of the very proper Victorian era admiring ‘dudes’. Hilarious!

The word ‘dude’ has actually been around for a lot longer than I realised. Far from being a recent invention courtesy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or The Simpsons, its origin began in the early 1800s and, according to Google’s Ngram Viewer, gained in popularity towards the end of the 19th Century before skyrocketing in the late 20th Century.

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William Timym – Wuff, Snuff & Tuff

AWW 11 Jan 1967 Pg 60

Being an obsessive Trove and Australian Women’s Weekly browser, there have been many instances where I’ve come across the short, adorable comics, Wuff, Snuff & Tuff by Tim. Most of the time however I was already searching for something else and apart from a quick glance, I didn’t really pay careful attention to them. Today I finally looked closer and my eyes were opened to how cute, sweet and witty they are.

AWW 26 May 1954 Pg 37

Wuff, Snuff & Tuff is a comic featuring the lives and adventures of three little puppies named (I’m sure you can guess it) Wuff, Snuff and Tuff. They were always printed as being by ‘Tim’ but the full name of their creator was actually William Timym (pronounced Tim). William was born in Austria in about 1901 and grew up in Vienna. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna before moving to England in 1938 to escape the country’s Nazi occupation.

AWW 13 March 1968 Pg 86

William became well-known for his cartoons such as Wuff, Snuff & Tuff as well as Bengo the Boxer Puppy, Bleep and Booster, Humphrey, Sniff, The Boss and Caesar. Thanks to his education in Vienna, he was also a highly skilled fine artist and in the 70s he took on many commissions for lifelike portraits and sculptures.

AWW 5 April 1961 Pg 69

A search on Google indicates that Wuff, Snuff & Tuff was not only a comic printed in media around the world but it also became printed in book format and was turned into various types of wooden puppets by Pelham Puppets.

AWW 10 Oct 1956 Pg 49

The comics were often printed in The Australian Women’s Weekly as being ‘for the children’ but the innocent humour, sweetness and general theme of kindness makes them comics that all people (young and old) can enjoy and smile over.

AWW 3 May 1961 Pg 65

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