Vale Graham Wade

Russell Powell

Pioneering Christian cartoonist, filmmaker and creative designer Graham Wade, who created the illustrations for the popular Jungle Doctor series, has died in Sydney at the age of 78.

Converted through the ministry of school scripture at Sydney Technical High School, Graham first went to work as an artist in an advertising studio.

As a protégé of Dr. Paul White, Graham turned the stories of the African bush into comic strips.

The Jungle Doctor series through comic books and on television had a profound impact on christian media and children’s work in the 50s and 60s not only in Sydney but beyond.

It’s estimated the comics sold in excess of half a million copies in Australia alone.


Storyteller. Right: Graham Wade playing the role of “Peter” in the Bible Society’s Word & Song, 2006 (photos courtesy Ramon Williams, Worldwide Photos)

He will also be remembered by a generation of TV watchers for his "lightning hand' Christian TV commercials.

Graham Wade was instrumental in establishing a not-for-profit advertising agency, Pilgrim International, which directed profits to christian work.

The work done by Pilgrim was highly regarded and resulted in secular business as well as significant campaign for Christian agencies such as World Vision.

Pilgrim is no longer operational but continues to offer a $10,000 prize for promote Christian work in the media.

In 2008, the prize was awarded to “The Christ Files” TV series, produced by Anglican Media.

Mr Wade remained a director of Pilgrim and until the end he was working on a number of assignments, including as consultant to Anglican Youthworks in Sydney.

Chairman of Pilgrim, Warwick Olson paid tribute to Mr Wade and his many skills “Graham was an evangelist who was in constant demand as a speaker, accompanied by his talented sketching. He appealed especially to children and regularly attended and participated in beach missions. His imprint on life will be missed by those of us who were impacted by his life.”

Youthworths CEO Zac Veron spoke of his impact “Graham was a champion in the youth ministry field. The impact of his outstanding ministry will live on for many more years. The Youthworks staff already miss him but give thanks to God for the legacy he has left behind.”

Anglican Media CEO Allan Dowthwaite says “Graham’s work was instrumental in the success of many of the early Anglican TV shows. He was a superb Christian communicator. In partnership with Paul White and Clifford Warne he gave life to the Jungle Doctor and presented Christian hope to many.”

Graham Wade is survived by his wife Ilda having lost his first wife Gwen to illness in 1991.

Graham's funeral will be at St Thomas' Anglican Church North Sydney at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, September 1st.

 

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