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Looking down on the Grand Final barbie

Mark Knight, October 22, 2020 6:30PM Kids News

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Part of Mark Knight’s cartoon. media_cameraPart of Mark Knight’s cartoon.


Reading level: green

Spare a thought for Victorians and more particularly those poor old Melburnians who have been in Stage 4 hard lockdown since … well, I’ve forgotten it’s been so long!

The only glimpse* of their former lives was that the footy was still on. The AFL managed to move the entire competition, teams, training staff and their families out of Victoria to hubs in Perth, Adelaide and places in Queensland.

Surprisingly, the season went ahead, in a different format to normal but matches were played and now we are about to hold the Grand Final between the Tigers and the Cats! Sure, it’s in Brisbane instead of Melbourne at the hallowed MCG, and it will be at night instead of the day, and they will be using a yellow ball instead of a red one. But diehard* footy fans can overlook all that and still have an AFL Grand Final day to hang on to where friends and family gather to watch the big game!

Or so we thought … I don’t want to be a party pooper but long-suffering Melburnians are banned from gathering together to celebrate the big day. The reason being that Melbourne is still in lockdown and Premier Dan says there won’t be any footy BBQs where friends and family usually come over, cook a few sausages, drink a few beverages and yell at the telly. He says that is a recipe for spreading the coronavirus. Police have been instructed to keep a look out for backyard gatherings, in particular telltale wisps* of smoke from barbies. Drones are to be deployed*.

This issue was a cartoon waiting to happen. I started drawing a group of average blokes gathered in a suburban backyard in Melbourne. I wanted to paint a scene that we were all familiar with, paling fences, camper chairs, the TV brought outside and even some festive party lights. But it is an illegal gathering and the authorities have said they will be patrolling neighbourhoods to catch people who defy* the lockdown.

I felt the humour in this cartoon would be exaggerating the lengths the government would go to monitor people’s behaviour. I thought of drawing drones with the Premier’s head on them. Or a full raid by the Special Operations Group complete with riot shields and body armour. Then in a daydream my mind wandered and for some reason I found myself imagining a scene from the Lord of the Rings movies. I like to use characters from movies as metaphors* on occasion. The big flaming evil eye of Sauron, which saw everything as it looked out from its huge black tower was a powerful image of power over a domain. Yes, that was it! A lovely juxtaposition* of a little suburban backyard barbecue being spied on by Sauron’s mighty evil eye.

Mark Knight’s cartoon. Right-click to open new tab and view full screen. media_cameraMark Knight’s cartoon. Right-click to open new tab and view full screen.

I added the dark tower with the big eye staring down on the illegal Grand Final BBQ. They can feel its icy stare. The cartoon promotes the idea that maybe the government’s banning of these gatherings was a bit too harsh. Sauron wouldn’t think so!

media_cameraSauron, as seen in the Lord of the Rings movies.


  • glimpse: a quick and incomplete look or view
  • diehard: strong and long-term supporter
  • wisps: thin column or trail
  • defy: openly resist or refuse to obey
  • metaphors: figures of speech that aren’t literally true
  • juxtaposition: two things being placed together showing contrast or difference


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  1. In one sentence, explain what this cartoon is about.
  2. What are the people in the cartoon watching? Who is watching them?
  3. What are the people wearing?
  4. Is it day or night? What does that tell you about when the game is being played?
  5. What is on the menu?


1. What Happens Next?
Imagine this cartoon is part of a story that is made up of three cartoons. The three cartoons tell a complete story, and Mark’s cartoon is either the start, middle or end of the story. Think about what the story could be and draw the other two cartoons that tell the story.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Arts, Visual Communication Design, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
‘To be a great cartoonist, being able to draw is only one of the skills that you need.’ Write a list of all of the other skills that you think cartoonists like Mark need to do their job. Next to each skill, write a sentence that explains why that skill is important or helps them to do a great job.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Media Arts, Visual Communication Design

Stretch your sentence
Find a ‘who’ in the cartoon. A person or animal.

Write it down.

Add 3 adjectives to describe them better.

Now add a verb to your list. What are they doing?

Add an adverb about how they are doing the action.

Using all the words listed, create one descriptive sentence.

HAVE YOUR SAY: How would you draw your Grand Final day?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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