Green (WEG) OAM
William Ellis Green OAM
1923 - 2008
It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of William Ellis Green or, as he was affectionately known, 'Bill', or WEG.
He passed away peacefully on the morning of Monday 29 December, 2008.
Arguably the world's fastest caricaturist, William Ellis Green was an enduring fixture in Australia's print landscape since the 1940s. Despite warnings from his mother that 'you'll starve if you’re a cartoonist', upon returning from military service in New Guinea, WEG joined the Melbourne Herald in 1946 in a serendipitous turn of events. After political cartoonist Sammy Wells went on holiday for six weeks, WEG was offered a temporary position to fill in. However, his stay at the Herald lasted considerably more than six weeks, as WEG held the position until his retirement in 1986, forty years later.
In 1954, WEG's profile in Melbourne grew considerably when he began drawing posters for the winning team of the Australian Rules Grand Final each year. While originally only an advertising means for newsagents, their popularity was such that the Herald began producing and selling them to footy fans. Today, they are as popular as ever, often selling over 100,000 copies each September. Although the series started in 1954, WEG since produced posters for all the Grand Finals back to 1897 to satisfy collectors.
In 2001, WEG received the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to art as a cartoonist and illustrator, and to the community, particularly through the Good Friday Appeal of the Royal Children’s Hospital. As proceeds from all WEG posters were given to the Royal Children's Hospital, he helped raise in excess of two million dollars.
Until his passing (and preceding illness), WEG was in great demand as a caricaturist for corporate functions. He will be remembered as an entertaining and amusing speaker whose key presentation, 'Spitting Image', details his amazing story as a cartoonist. His ability to generate detailed caricatures in two minutes – he was one of the fastest in the world – made him a popular choice for all manner of conference.
He is survived by Joan, his wife, of 63 years.
We fondly remember WEG and our thoughts are with his family.
- The Team at Saxton
William Ellis Green (WEG) travels from Victoria Australia
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