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Harris is widely known for his musical compositions "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport", which later became a Top 10 hit in Australia, the UK, and the United States, and "Jake the Peg".
In 2005, he painted an official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.He lived in Bray, Berkshire, England, for more than six decades.In 2014, at the age of 84, he was jailed on twelve counts of indecent assault that took place between 19, on four female victims then aged between eight and nineteen.As a result, he was stripped of many of the honours he had been awarded during his career, including the OA and CBE.Harris attended Perth Modern School in Subiaco, later gaining a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia and a Diploma of Education from Claremont Teachers' College (now Edith Cowan University).While he was just 16, and still a student at Perth Modern School, his self-portrait in oils was one of the 80 works (out of 200 submitted) accepted to be hung in the Art Gallery of New South Wales as an entry in the 1947 Archibald Prize.
and became an art student at City and Guilds of London Art School in South London, at the age of 22.
In 1953 he found work in television, at the BBC, performing a regular ten-minute cartoon drawing section in a one-hour children's show called Jigsaw, with a puppet called "Fuzz", made and operated on the show by magician Robert Harbin.
He went on to illustrate Harbin's Paper Magic programme in 1956.
In 1954, Harris was a regular on a BBC Television programme Whirligig, which featured a character called "Willoughby", who sprang to life on a drawing board, but was erased at the end of each episode.
By this stage, Harris had drifted away from art school as a slightly disillusioned student.
He then met his longtime hero, Australian impressionist painter Hayward Veal (1913–1968), who became his mentor, teaching him the rudiments of impressionism and showing him how it could help with his portrait painting.