By SALLY GORDON
THE creator of one of Australia's most popular comic-strip characters, Fatty Finn, may have died more than 25 years ago, but memories of Syd Nicholls and his work still echo in the Northern Rivers.
Nicholls' artwork currently is on display at the Bunker Cartoon Gallery in Coffs Harbour.
The exhibition, called A Tribute to Syd Nicholls, features scores of Fatty Finn comic strips, many of which contain references to Iluka, Yamba and local identities.
Cartoonist for The Australian newspaper, Lindsay Foyle is working on a biography of Nicholls and is calling for Clarence Coast residents who may have known the acclaimed artist to contact him.
Mr Foyle said that in the three decades from the 50s, into the 70s, Nicholls regularly based Finn's adventures at Iluka or Woolloomooloo Bay in Sydney.
"Syd's heart was in Iluka and many people referred to Syd as Fatty Finn's father; if Fatty Finn's father loved Iluka then Fatty Finn had to love Iluka," he said.
"Every time he drew Iluka or the Clarence River or that area he would include locals (such as Poppy Marsh) in the comic strip or the Iluka fishing co-op or things like that because he really loved the area.
"He wanted those people to know that he was keen on the area and that Fatty Finn was part of that territory."
During the 1940s Nicholls owned land at Iluka but was forced to sell the block when his fortune turned sour towards the end of the decade.