â€˜The Scaly Monsterâ€™
Alderman, â€˜Bloody Jack,â€™ boat, cartoon, democracy, E. Montague Scott (1835-1909), John McElhone (1833-1898), knight, NSW politics, political cartoon, politics, Sydney Municipal Council, respectability
‘The Scaly Monster’ drawing shows an unruffled ‘Bloody Jack’ McElhone boarding a vessel embarking for England. This feisty Sydney alderman had a reputation for forthrightness and ‘fisticuffs,’ which was not always appreciated by others. He was once referred to by Daniel O’Connor as “‘an illiterate mountebank,’ ‘a commercial Shylock,’ ‘an unscrupulous vulture,’ and ‘a political Quilp’” (See Martha Rutledge, 'McElhone, John (1833–1898)',Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mcelhone-john-4087/text6529, accessed 11 June 2012). O’Connor had previously had a run-in with McElhone after calling him a “servile lickspittle”, for which he received a punch below the left eye. It is not entirely clear to whom or what ‘The Scaly Monster of the House’ refers when he states, “I do not care two straws what the public think. I treat the whole matter with contempt”. It is probable that the cartoonist is merely highlighting the typical McElhone response to opposition of any kind. By all accounts he was well-used to causing indignation and political controversy. He was, however, essentially an honest man who frequently asked difficult questions of the government, and as a result “exposed many public wrongs” in the process. A bearded knight charging from behind may be Sir Henry Parkes, or it could be Sir John Robertson who also sported a luxuriant beard and flowing white locks. Either way, the ‘knight’ is a representative “champion of democracy” (Marguerite Mahood,The Loaded Line: Australian Political Caricature 1788-1901,Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 1973, p.131), and a visible embodiment of political fairness and respectability.
Possibly MS (Montague Scott)
3 May 1884 (p. 13)
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