Today’s Ginger Meggs featured Aggie saying she closed her kissing booth because of “Too many Boofheads.” Some international readers were curious to note that boofhead is an Australian colloquialism with which they aren’t too familiar! Too right it is.
Speaking as a boofhead myself, I can tell all readers that it’s an insulting term meant for people making stupid decisions and being overall foolish morons. It gets thrown around affectionately also, but it all depends on the context.
But where did the term ‘boofhead come from?
“R. B. Clark, or Bob Clark was born in 1910. He became a draughtsman before creating comic strip ‘Boofhead’, that originally ran daily in Sydney’s Daily Mirror from 1941 until its creator’s death in 1970. It also ran in other Australian cities.
There were at least 30 Best of Boofhead annuals from 1957 to 1962 and Invincible Press published a number of Boofhead comic books between 1945 and 1962.
Boofhead was simplistically drawn featuring a man in a waistcoat with an elongated nose and a cantilever hairstyle.
Writing in the Sun-Herald in November 1979, Mike Gibson claimed Clark’s graphic style was static and it is often written that he asked management for permission to take drawing lessons to attain more fluidity.
These requests were refused, as ‘Boofhead’ was popular as he was.
There have been claims that both Kerry Packer and Rupert Murdoch were nicknamed Boofhead at school.
There may be no truth in these rumours and Murdoch did not seem to be bothered by the comic as he kept it going after taking over the Daily Mirror in 1960.
The popularity of the Boofhead led to the erection of a 4.5-meter statue of ‘Boofhead’ by NSW politician Clive Evatt at his property at Leura in the Blue Mountains.
The comic strip Boofhead was the inspiration behind the popular nickname “boofhead”, which means a bit silly, clumsy or foolish.”
For effect, I drew in the one and only boofhead into the final panel of the strip as a polite nod to the characters -and the colloquialism’s- creator. Hope you all enjoyed it!
Got more questions about Aussie terms and culture? Drop me a line and say G’day!