Maurice Bramley - Illustrator

Above: This caricature of Maurice Bramley was drawn by Kerwin Maegraith, and was taken from a full-page illustration, 'Some Sydney Artists', published in the Sydney Mail on 11 August 1937. - the image comes from the
excellent Blog of Maurice Bramley written by Kevin Patrick

Tuross Resident in in the 1950's and 1960's

Maurice William Bramley was born in New Plymouth, New Zealand, on 11 September 1898.

Maurice was a well respected resident of Tuross in the 1950's living in Jellicoe Road. He and his wife Dell moved to Tuross from Belleview Hill in Sydney and set up home in the village.

The home they chose was originally occupied by Ray Knight. Maurice and Dell were both in their late sixties to seventies during their time in Tuross.

Maurice was happy to do portraits of locals and these can still be found on walls throughout Old Tuross.

Dell passed away in Tuross and Maurice was later to remain in Canberra following a major operation that resulted in the loss of one of his legs. Even though he was now bound to remain in hospital he still drew for the local doctors and nursing staff.

Maurice was always using Dell and the other locals as drawing models.
In some of his wartime comics he depicted Mr Nossitor of Nossiters Boatshed as a sea captain whilst in others he depicted Kevin Dredge as a commando called The Fighting Fool

He is fondly remembered for always being a perfect gentleman and for his always wearing a cravat



The name of Maurice Bramley is of special interest to discerning collectors of Australian comic books. This New Zealand-born illustrator came to comics quite late in his career, but proved a prolific and talented comic artist during the twilight years of Australian comics during the late 1950s and early-to-mid 1960s. His 'traditional' background as a commercial artist and magazine illustrator lent a distinctive 'look' to his comic artwork, which is being rediscovered by a new generation of Australian comics' enthusiasts.

One of the earliest articles written about Bramley's life & work was penned by local collector & comics' sleuth, Daniel McKeown, who contributed an article titled 'Bramley Covers' to the now-defunct websitein the 1990's:

From the 1930's until the mid-1950's, Maurice Bramley drew covers and illustrations for Sun Newspapers (later Associated Newspapers) magazines such as The World's News and Woman and Woman's Budget. The World's News contained mostly pulp fiction stories, educational articles and sensationalist news stories. These magazines ceased publication during 1955-1956, when television was introduced to Australia.

After the conclusion of his magazine illustration work, Bramley turned to comics, illustrating scores of comic book covers (and short filler stories) for Horwitz Publications' range of comics. These comics were predominantly U.S. reprints, ranging from war and western titles (published from the late 1950's) to Marvel superhero titles (published in the early 1960's).

As well as Horwitz and Page Publications comic covers, issues of Frogman and The Phantom Commando, Bramley later drew some entire issues of Page Publications' The Fast Gun in the early 1970's, featuring "Sudden":

Page's line of comics lasted for a few years into the 1970's (the final issues were priced 15c, c.1972), after which Bramley seemingly stopped work.

What happened to Maurice Bramley?

It's a mystery to be solved.



A letter to the Tuross Community

By way of introduction, my name is Kevin Patrick. I'm a freelance writer based in Melbourne, with a long-standing interest in the history of Australian comics.

I curated a major exhibition on the topic, 'Heroes and Villains: Australian Comics and their Creators', which was held at the State Library of Victoria during 2006-2007:

I think one of the images featuring Maurice Bramley's artwork on your website might have been taken from the exhibition website, which can be found here:

I was fascinated to read on your website an entry about Maurice Bramley, an Australian comic artist whose work I consider amongst the best of his generation - but whose personal life/background remained a mystery to me, until I came across your website.

I've written several pieces about Maurice Bramley, which I've published on my blog, including the following items:




The few 'facts' I have about him was that Bramnley was born in 1910 (according to his byline for the 'Join Us in a Victory Job' poster he painted in 1943), and that he was actually born in New Zealand.

(Intriguingly, there is an 'Maurice H. Bramley', listed as being buried at a cemetery in Northland, New Zealand - but he's listed as being born in 1922, and having served with the 2nd NZEF, which suggests he served during WWII - so I'm unsure if this the same Maurice Bramley, or an NZ relative)

The last known comic books featuring Bramley's work appeared around 1971-72 - after this, he seems to have disappeared off the radar!

Thankfully, your website entry has filled in some of the blanks - but I'm keen to find out more details about Bramley's life.

Anyone with any information about Maurice Bramley, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem, would be most welcome, and can be sent to me as follows:

Kevin Patrick
PO Box 1055
Camberwell VIC 3124

Above: One of the Bramley's that came to light - Charles Renner, father of Wanda Taylor and local produce grower in his gardens that were located by the gully on Nelson Parade


The New Zealand-born Maurice Bramley had a career as a commercial artist and magazine illustrator before he went to work for Australian comic books between the late 1950s and mid 1960s.

From the 1930s until the mid 1950s, Bramley drew covers and illustrations for Sun Newspapers (later Associated Newspapers) magazines such as The World's News and Woman and Woman's Budget.

He then illustrated a great many comic book covers and short filler stories for the comic book line of Horwitz Publications. These were mostly US reprints, containing western and war titles, as well as Marvel superhero comics. He also succeeded John Dixon on 'The Phantom Commando'.




'Join Us in a Victory Job' was a Second World War recruiting poster created by Maurice Bramley in the Department of National Service. It was published in 1943. Services depicted include: Australian Army Medical Women's Service; Australian Women's Army Service; Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force; Women's Royal Australian Naval Service.

This work is typical of the recruitment posters aimed at women during the Second World War. It draws on elements of popular visual culture to counter the perception of only a few years before that it was inappropriate for women to enlist in the military services or to work in heavy industry and agriculture. In bright and vibrant colours it uses imagery typical of pre war and contemporary advertising in its line up of attractive, radiant women of indeterminate age and social standing.

The six women depicted include members of the three services, army and civilian nurses and, right at the front, a generic factory worker or land army girl. The imagery and the wide range of occupations make the poster all-encompassing, implying that there is a job for every Australian women and that she must take it up. The airbrushed attractiveness of the women also suggests that women who take up these new forms of employment retain their femininity, a major concern for men, and a reassurance for the women that their new and unfamiliar roles were legitimate.

You can see Maurice Bramley, Join us in a victory job, 1943, colour photolithograph on paper, 48.2 x 60.4 cm, ARTV00332 at the Australian War Memorial.


The artwork below was drawn on a stiff card that was used to stiffen an envelop
containing some family portraits Maurice had done of a local Tuross family.

The portraits are treasured to this day and equally tresured is this old board featuring a comic cover that was never published.