27th October 2018

Boxing Kangaroo:

A query as to whether this set of buttons (found in Idaho) was of Australian origin came our way. For the record, I don’t think it is, as the construction (celluloid with embedded steel loop shank) is not something I have seen made by any Australian manufacturer. However, the set is fascinating. The card they were sewn on was labelled as “Allied Forces of WWII” and depicts the USA, Britain, China, Australia and Russia. This dates the buttons as 1941 or after, as that is when Russia joined the Allies.

It made me wonder about the use of the ‘boxing kangaroo’ as an Australian mascot, so I did some research:

The first boxing kangaroo of fame was named Jack and trained by ‘Professor Richard Von Lindermann’.

Punch, 16th April 1891.

They performed in shows around Australia from 1891 and then traveled to London in 1892 where they were a great success. Jack died there in 1896, having made his trainer a lot of money. Later boxing kangaroos included two called ‘Peter Jackson” in 1897 and1908, ‘Aussie’ from Adelaide trained by Lindsay Fahre around 1926-9, ‘Chut’ trained by Harry Abdy who appeared in the film “Orphan of the Wilderness” in 1936 and ‘Peter the great’ who performed around America in 1940. “Peter the Great’ was not the first boxing kangaroo to travel to the States. The first reference I found was in 1893.  Photos, illustrations and cartoons of boxing kangaroos had been published since 1891, so the imagery was well known by WW2.

A Cartoon in Punch (Melbourne) 26th December 1895. The “Boxing Kangaroo” is telling off Britain and America as they squabble over a disputed border of Venesula.

 

The Australasian, 30th December 1911. “Parramatta” was a mascot aboard an Australian destroyer.

Sun (Sydney) 25th July 1915.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *