During World War II, Rafty served as a war artist and journalist for the Australian Army, serving in New Guinea, Borneo and Singapore. He sketched the surrender of the Japanese in Singapore, and covered the release of POWs from prison camps, including Batu Lintang camp in Kuching, Sarawak. He completed many sketches of war action including a memorable one of Lord Louis Mountbatten. A few years later he covered the Indonesian War of Independence, and befriended President Sukarno of Indonesia. His considerable number of works from that era are housed in the National Library and the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, with others held at the Imperial War Museum in London.
Rafty has caricatured politicians, sportspeople, and entertainers. He has sketched sportsmen and women at every Olympic Games from 1948 (in London) to 1996 (in Atlanta). His work has been exhibited worldwide and over 15,000 of his caricatures have been featured in newspapers and magazines. In 1981 Rafty became the world’s first caricaturist to have subjects appear on national stamps, with caricatures of sportsmen Victor Trumper , Walter Lindrum , Sir Norman Brookes  and Darby Munro  appearing on stamps issued by Australian Post. He has also provided courtroom sketches for an Australian television channel.
Rafty is one of the founding members of the Australian Black and White Artists Club and served as its President; for 23 years he was on the Board of Directors of the Sydney Journalists Club, where he also held the position of President; he also served the Australian War Correspondents’ Association. Rafty still leads the Anzac Day march at the head of the Australian War Correspondents Society.
Sir William Dargie, a prominent Australian artist, eight-time winner of the Archibald Prize, and war artist with Rafty in World War II commented: “Tony Rafty is simply splendid. He not only brings an intellectual quality to his work, but he does it so well within a social context that he creates subjects which have a life of their own.”
In 2005, Rafty celebrated his 90th birthday.
- Imperial War Museum. "Works by Tony Rafty". IWM Collections Search. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- "Tony Rafty: Caricaturist and Australian National Treasure" by Greg Tingle
- Design and Art Australia Online
- Biographical notes
- "Caricaturist whose story began at the frontline" by Malcolm Brown