- Sun, 24 Jan 2021 09:23:13 +0330
Michael Leunig (born 2 June 1945), typically referred to as Leunig (his signature on his cartoons),
Leunig, a fifth generation Australian, was born in East Melbourne and grew up in Footscray, an inner western suburb, where he went to Footscray North Primary School. He then went to Maribyrnong High School, but as the school had not finished being built, he first had to attend classes held at the nearby Royal Melbourne Showgrounds in Ascot Vale. He failed his final year examinations, twice.
After working as a labourer in an abattoir, Leunig enrolled at the Swinburne Film and Television School, where he was at first interested in making documentaries. He was conscripted in the Vietnam War call-up, but he registered as a conscientious objector; he was rejected on health grounds when it was revealed that he was deaf in one ear.
Leunig began his cartoon career while at Swinburne in 1965 when his cartoons appeared in the Monash University student newspaper Lot's Wife. In the early 1970s his work appeared in the radical/satirical magazines Nation Review, The Digger, and London's Oz magazine, as well as mainstream publications including Newsday and Woman's Day.
The main outlet for Leunig's work has been the daily Fairfax Media newspapers, Melbourne's The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. In more recent years he has focused mainly on political commentary, sometimes replacing or supplementing his simple drawings with reproduced photographic images with speech balloons attached. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has also provided airtime to Leunig to discuss his views on a range of political and philosophical issues.