When UWA students were naughty

Not overstated at all. Not one bit.

Not overstated at all. Not one bit.

You may recall that a couple of years ago UWA students got into serious trouble for racist jokes in the guild newspaper, PROSH. Hardly the first time student humour was controversial. Won’t be the last either.

Today, we look back to 1931, when the student rag, then called Sruss Sruss, also managed to caused outrage. The editor was Griff Richards, who later went on to edit the West Australian. So it didn’t exactly destroy his career.

Unfortunately, the Dodgy Perth research team has not managed to uncover a copy of this infamous publication. UWA doesn’t appear to have one, and the State Library has lost theirs. There may not be any other copies left.

All we are left with is one joke about a Professor Ross, who taught physics and maths, not being able to have any more children because he’d lost the formula. Hysterical, eh?

And one rather weak poem:

She was only a sportsman’s daughter,
She lived besides the mill:
There were otters in the water,
But she was otter still.

Well, Prof Ross didn’t find these funny, and he rapidly became an enemy of the guild, Sruss Sruss, and its editor.

The week the newspaper was printed, UWA students had not helped their cause by going upstairs at His Majesty’s armed with rotten crayfish, eggs and vegetables. Then proceeded to throw these at the audience below, forcing the curtain to come down and the play to be abandoned.

At first, there was only a small piece in the West Australian about this scandal. But then the Sunday Times had a slow news week. Sruss Sruss, it decided, was the worst thing since Hitler would be a few years later, and it had to be stopped now.

The University authorities, backed by Prof Ross, panicked and fined everyone involved, and ordered every copy of the newspaper to be pulped. They also expelled Griff Richards for one year.

In fact, the Guild went further, and burnt every copy of Sruss Sruss they could lay their hands on.

Kids today, eh? Don’t know they’re born.