British Cartoon Archive


Frank Benier was born in Hindmarsh, South Australia on 13 December 1919. At the age of fourteen he began submitting cartoons to the Adelaide Express and Journal, and had his first cartoon published in September 1934. After leaving school he started work on the Adelaide News with the intent of becoming a journalist, but soon moved to the art department.

During the Second World War Benier joined the army, and served in the Middle East and New Guinea. He returned to Adelaide after the war, and moved to Sydney in 1956, where he worked in film animation. He got his chance to draw daily cartoons for the Sydney Sun when their regular cartoonist, Emile Mercier, went on holidays.

Benier spent some years in London, where in 1963 and 1964 he contributed cartoons to the Daily Herald, later renamed the Sun. Benier returned to Australia, to work on the Sydney Sun, after Mercier's retirement in 1968. One day in 1971, while sitting at his drawing board, Rupert Murdoch rang him and invited him to lunch. Murdoch asked him how much he was being paid at the Sun and then offered Benier half as much again to work for the Sydney Daily Mirror.

Back at the Sun Benier told his employers of the Murdoch offer and asked what they were going to do about it. Told he was being paid "the going rate", he replied that if it was the going rate then he was "going". He joined Murdoch's Daily Mirror, replacing Cole Buchanan.

Benier retired in 1986, and died at Patonga, NSW, on October 14, 1998. He bequeathed 2,250 of his editorial cartoons to the Australian Black and White Artists' Club Collection at the State Library of NSW.

  • Sketches: Official Newsletter of the Australian Black & White Artists' Club, January 1999, "Signing Off."
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