Gough Whitlam makes Everage a Dame

A lobby card for the film Barry McKenzie Holds His Own shows the back of Dame Edna Everage's head as she kisses Gough Whitlam. Margaret Whitlam stands next to Gough.
Gough Whitlam makes Everage a Dame
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Barry McKenzie Holds His Own (Bruce Beresford, Australia, 1974) – the sequel to The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (Bruce Beresford, Australia, 1972) – is perhaps most famous for one of its final scenes where then-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam makes a cameo appearance and apparently makes Edna Everage (played by Barry Humphries) a Dame.

This lobby card includes a photograph of the scene where Barry McKenzie's Aunt Edna becomes Dame Edna Everage. The photograph is bordered by a cartoon drawing depicting McKenzie surrounded by Frankenstein's monster, religious iconography, bare-breasted 'sheilas' and horror imagery. The images, aside from showing the cartoon-strip roots of the McKenzie character created by Humphries, are an example of the 1970s high-camp, horror imagery and ocker humour which the film features.

The whole idea of Everage's supposed Damehood is an example of the rich backstory which has contributed to Everage's popularity and longevity as a character.

Outside of the film Everage really dines out on her supposed Damehood at every opportunity, saying that it was very kind of Queen Elizabeth II to recognise a Damehood conferred upon her by an Australian, 'and a socialist to boot'.

The film was produced by Phillip Adams who became a prominent journalist and broadcaster.

Notes by Beth Taylor