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Did The Earth Move For You Too, Dear…

This is one of the most loved of Peter Nicholson’s cartoons featuring the Whitlams.

Gough and Margaret Whitlam were in Tientsin, China, in 1977 when a severe earthquake struck. At first, the Whitlams’ whereabouts was not known. We now know that the earthquake was at that time one of the worst natural disasters ever. Officially, a quarter of a million people died, although the real figure could be much higher.

An article on Inside Story by Richard Whitington, a member of Whitlam’s staff, provides a detailed account of the earthquake.

Nicholson’s cartoons drew some criticism at the time for being in poor taste. As Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald reported in 2014: “Gough bought the original, framed it and hung it over the marital bed. The Whitlams had a sense of humour. And Gough was entirely at home with great tectonic shifts.”