March 25, 2010
Photo by Louise Hawson
Ginger Meggs Bronze Memorial: (33° 42′ 1″S, 151° 5′ 50″E) see the bronze Meggs’ memorial in Hornsby public library; 1km from the Great North Walk spur to Hornsby. Ginger Meggs Park (33° 42′ 8″S, 151° 4′ 53″E) is a few hundred metres off the Great North Walk.
The Great North Walk Companion extract- pages 305-306
It was dedicated in July 1997 to commemorate Jimmy Bancks (1889–1952), the creator of the cartoon character Ginger Meggs. Bancks moved into the Hornsby area in 1892 with his family as his father, a railway worker, moved to a railway cottage between the present Main and North Shore rail lines.”
“I wonder if he knew our family — those orphans that lived in Wondabyne — on the day we started with Lance.”
“That’s a thought… Well, the two families, Bancks and Ryans, were living on the railway at the same time for sure.”
Jimmy Bancks, the Ginger Meggs creator, stayed here for about twenty years including a childhood ranging throughout Old Mans Valley and up to the Fishponds, near where we had lunch on Berowra Creek. His fruit-raiding expeditions on the Higgins family orchards in Old Mans Valley are believed to have inspired many of the exploits of the comic strip characters.
“Yeah — John hoards loads of the old annuals of the Ginger Meggs gang. He used to show them to us: titles like Ginger Meggs and Herbert the Billy Goat and Ginger Meggs and the Country Cousin — that sort of stuff. Isn’t it still in the paper?”
“It’s syndicated all over the world. I read about it when the last but one cartoonist died. Not just that, Ginger Meggs is Australia’s longest lived cartoon strip; it’s also the geographically most widely known — I think the article said it appears in more than 120 newspapers; in 32 countries.”
“So, Ginger was drawn by several people, not just Jimmy Bancks?” my companion asks.
“Yes, Bancks was succeeded by Ron Vivian, and later by Lloyd Piper and then James Kemsley. Master Meggs, our famous red-haired pre-teenager, was even the unlikely hero of a feature film made in 1982 by Jonathan Dawson.”