Passing of Tony Rafty OAM

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Hon Stuart Robert MP

Minister for Veterans' Affairs

Minister for Human Services

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

It is with sadness that I extend my condolences to the family and friends of renowned war artist correspondent Anthony (Tony) Rafty OAM who passed away late last week, just days short of his 100th birthday.  

Mr Rafty was born in the Sydney suburb of Paddington, where he began his working career as a cartoonist with the sporting paper Referee before enlisting with the Commonwealth Military Forces in December 1941. Six months later he transferred to the Australian Imperial Force.

Mr Rafty brought us a unique view of the Second World War and the post-Second World War period through his artwork, some of which is held by the Australian War Memorial.

During his military career, Mr Rafty spent time with the Military History Section in Melbourne. In 1944, he landed in Port Morseby, New Guinea, where he accompanied Australian troops on their push through the Shaggy Ridge area. He later contracted malaria and was eventually discharged as medically unfit.

The work he produced in New Guinea, and later back on the home front, brought Mr Rafty great praise. Through his drawings, Mr Rafty captured scenes from New Guinea and from the home front, including the Victory in Europe celebrations in Sydney in May 1945.

Upon discharge, Mr Rafty re-joined The Sun, where he had previously worked, and was sent to Singapore and Borneo to cover the post-war surrender period before eventually flying to Indonesia to cover its ongoing struggle for independence.

In 1990, Mr Rafty was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his contribution to cartooning in the media.

Mr Rafty will forever be remembered for his creative talent and ability to capture all situations, whether tragic or joyous, through his artwork.

I offer my deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

Media Contacts:
Richard Briedis (Minister Robert’s Office): 0477 391 174
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS)
can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling.
Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546)