The inspiration for Swamp is a childhood spent living close to parks, bushland areas, creeks, dumps, a tannery and sludge pond. These places provided endless possibilities for adventure and fun. The creek offered eel fishing, swimming, rafting and catching tortoises.
The ponds also offered yabbies (crayfish) and on occasion quality goldfish for our own aquarium. The creek bank was where we had our cubby houses… and our private gathering place, the Mulberry Tree. Many feasts and fights of mulberries were had up in its branches.
The local dumps were a treasure trove which we regularly scrounged through for much sort after prize: a discarded bicycle frame or wheel.
The tannery offered an element of heart pumping danger. Once we were chased by tannery workers wielding large knifes when we trespassed into their back paddock. The tannery emitted a foul odour that wafted into our homes when the wind blew or it rained.
We discovered this source of the odour was a sludge pond where fat and by-product of the tanning process settled on its surface forming metres of thick crust of green-brown foam… we were greatly impressed!!!
Little by little, as we grew up these places changed. Our yabby pond was filled in to make way for an industrial shed. The tannery relocated. The ponds are gone and today the creek is a concrete channel.
Rough bushland is now neat with trim tree-lined bicycle ways. The parks where we flew and crashed many model aircraft are still there and most importantly, so are the memories. Somewhere embedded in every Swamp cartoon strip, the things that inspired me in childhood, still show through. For instance, every fly head first in a cowpat, every time Ding nose-dives into a crumpled wreck and a dump rat discovers new treasure and every off-beat character. They all have their origins with a bunch of kids… knee-deep in the wonderful world I call Swamp.