April 25 is Anzac Day, a time of pride and remembrance for all New Zealanders and Australians. It dates from Gallipoli in World War I when so many soldiers lost their lives and the two countries began to shrug off their colonial status and become nations. The main commemoration in Hong Kong is a dawn – 6.15 am – ceremony at the Central Cenotaph organised by both Consuls-General. In Sai Kung there will be a run by members of the Hong Kong Hash House Harriers. We also take the opportunity to remember Murray Ball, the cartoonist beloved in both countries, who died last month.
Footrot Flats, the cartoon series created by Murray, was running at its height in 200 newspapers in New Zealand and Australia as well as many others around the world. The main characters were Wal and Dog and the series followed their mishaps and misadventures on a sheep farm, mainly as seen through the eyes of Dog.
Footrot Flats spawned 27 books, a stage musical and a feature film. The highest accolade in New Zealand is to be called “a good keen man”. That was certainly Murray Ball, who died at 78 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Footrot Flats was as loved in Australia as in New Zealand. The Ozzies wanted to claim Murray Ball as their own, but he was born in Fielding, NZ, and died in Gisborne.
Murray Ball is survived by his wife and children. The cartoon strip ran from 1976 to 1994, when Ball stopped producing it. He cited dissatisfaction with NZ politics and the death of his own dog.
Film that will bring back nostalgic memories for Ozzies and Kiwis by Austen Wylde Stark, Sai Kung’s 24-year-old videographer and a BUZZ team member