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Cullen, Jean ( - 1950)

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Cartoonist, Illustrator and Journalist


Jean Cullen was an illustrator and humourous artist who worked for Smith's Weekly in the period 1941-1950. She also created the teenage cartoon character 'Pam' for the Brisbane Courier Mail , a character that Marie Horseman continued to develop after Cullen took her own life in 1950.

In 1945, Cullen published an adult illustrated book that was quickly banned called Hold that Halo,or, How to lose it in ten easy lessons. The comic narrated the trials and tribulations of a young woman during the second word war and was a stark commentary on the sexual double-standard as it applied to women.


Hold that Halo, or, How to lose it in ten easy lessons

(On the frontispiece)
"Breathes there a girl with with soul so dead,
Who never to herself hath said:
This is my halo, all my own,
But how I wish the thing were flown."
(with apologies to Sir Walter Scott)

Adam and Eve have caused these rhymes
Two souls in Heav'n, with what good times!
They frolicked round thru' every hour.
Eve's halo drop't, with apples sour.
Then Cleo, Egypt's pride of all
Too saw her halo take its fall.
This Nile-ish gal with men galore
Loved many, yet she wanted more.

An' this is how it all began
As old-time girls from halos ran.
Perchance 'tis said the story's old
That halos drop if girls be bold.
But let's tell on 'ere you condemn
What halos mean to modern femme.

This halo's lass took Ma's advice
"Beware of men with tinge of vice!"
This lovely girl was a halo's sort
And "Nay'd" men's curious thoughts of sport.
She stayed home nights all full of wonder
Why saucyer girls oft stole her thunder.

This halo'd charmente oh! was poor
Till a gay bold wolf knocked at her door.
She yielded, made the bad wolf pay
Her halo's gone: she's rich that way.

This halo'd heiress found wealth a bore
Men liked her cash: that made her sore
They passed her halo ashine without sin
They used her coupons to drink her gin.

Another with halo, alas! without vim, (A picture of a school marm reading books called 'Say yes and like it' and 'How to have it' accompanies this verse)
With past all dopey - her future looks dim.
She's booked to be spinster;s of virtuous bed,
With halo intacta, the burglar's worst dread.

This girl had a halo but not for long,
She lost it a'wrestling, the guy was strong.
She' wasn't upset when it went off fast,
Her moto: "Why worry? They're not meant to last.'

I've told you solme secrets of gals good and bad,
Of rich girls and poor gals, of gay femmes and sad.
And last but not least of the girl who will bawl:
But whay all this fuss about halos and all?

So the moral is written for all girls to see:
"Ah, don't trust your halo where it oughtn't to be."


c. 1940 - c. 1950
Career in journalism active

Sources used to compile this entry: Australian Journalists' Club, Black and White Exhibition: Fifty Years of Australian Cartooning, Presented on the occasion of the Journalists' Club quarter century presentation, Catalogue of work of cartoonists on display in the exhibition, August 1964; Kerr, Joan, Artists and Cartoonists in black and white: the most public art., S.H. Ervin Gallery, National Trust of Australia, Sydney, 1999; Kerr, Joan, 'Horseman, Marie Compston (Mollie) (1911-1974)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006,

Archival resources

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Selection of cartoon drawings from Smith's Weekly, ca. 1930-1950, c. 1930 - c. 1950, PXD 840; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

Digital resources

Hold that Halo Pages 16 and 17
Cullen, Jean ( - 1950)
Allied Authors and Artists


Hold that Halo Front Cover
Cullen, Jean ( - 1950)
Allied Authors and Artists


Nikki Henningham

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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