The 'Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels' entered Australia's wartime mythology following the publication of Sapper Bert Beros' poem of the same name in 1942. Modern review recognises a more diverse range of experiences for the Papuans.
|Stretcher bearers in the Owen Stanleys. William Dargie, 1943|
Many a mother in Australia, when the busy day is done,
Sends a prayer to the almighty for the keeping of her son.
Asking that an Angel guide him and bring him safely back.
Now we see those prayers are answered on the Owen Stanley track.
For they haven’t any halos, only holes slashed in the ears,
And with faces worked by tattoos, with scratch pins in their hair.
Bringing back the wounded, just as steady as a hearse,
Using leaves to keep the rain off and as gentle as a nurse.
Slow and careful in bad places, on the awful mountain track,
And the look upon their faces, makes us think that Christ was black.
Not a move to hurt the carried, as they treat him like a Saint,
It’s a picture worth recording, that an Artist’s yet to paint.
Many a lad will see his Mother, and the husbands, weans and wives,
Just because the Fuzzy Wuzzy carried them to save their lives.
From mortar or machine gun fire, or a chance surprise attack,
To safety and the care of Doctors, at the bottom of the track.
May the mothers in Australia, when they offer up a prayer,
Mention those impromptu angels, with the fuzzy wuzzy hair.
These figures are from Eureka, on a 60mm Rubicon base. I drilled out the hands, which was a little anxiety-inducing. The Papuans were painted with Army Painter Leather Brown and two coats of AP Strong Tone. Their hair was Vallejo 70.899 Dark Prussian Blue with AP Dark Tone, which avoids going towards grey. I chose the terracotta skirt colour based off Dargie's painting above.
I chose to model kunai grass as seen in George Silk's iconic photo above. I used an old broken paintbrush and stained the hairs with Woodland Scenics Yellow Ocher, then glued clumps of it using PVA. I then individually picked out all the hairs that had fallen over or weren't attached. I am finding these hairs everywhere now...
Lest we forget.
|Kokoda Memorial, Griffith,|
Australian Capital Territory
Emma Rogerson, 2012. The 'Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels': Looking beyond the myth. Australian War Museum.