Wanda the War Girl - Kathleen O'Brien (1914 - 1991)

From Perth Sunday TImes 11th July 1943:


Her admiration for the fine qualities of the Australian Service girls inspired Sydney artist Kathleen O'Brien to create "Wanda the War Girl." Miss O'Brien's weekly strip of Wanda's adventures will begin next week in "The Sunday Times."

"Few Australian artists have tried to give Australian service girls credit for the marvelous job they have been doing.'' Miss O'Brien says,

"The Australian service girl has got everything-daring, beauty wit, charm, and a fresh, open-air
outlook. "I am delighted that The Sunday Times' will bring her to the public."

Miss O'Brien was born 28 years ago in her grandfather's hotel in Mackay, Northern Queensland.
Since then she has traveled all over Australia with her parents while her father prospected for
gold, broke-in horses, and worked for years in the outback. Her mother, who models aboriginal subjects in clay and is an expert in hand-weaving, inspired her to become an artist.

Miss O'Brien first studied art at the Brisbane Technical College. She went to Sydney six years
ago to study for three years with the late J. S. ("Wattie") Watkins, great art teacher. She has never been abroad, but she can read and speak both French and Italian.

"Wanda is not a portrait of any real person, but she represents the spirit of Australian girls I know, who have done such wonderful work in uniform." says Miss O'Brien. "I first thought of Wanda when I was watching a march of service girls. I spent days and nights sketching girls before I was satisfied I had found a true type of real Australian girl."

The comics below are rare examples of full colour tabloid size Australian produced newspaper comics. In common with her contemporaries Moira Bertram and Stanley Pitt, O'Brien often used large bold figures and layouts breaking from the more traditional grids employed in comics of the time.