John Stanton

19/06/2019

Meeting Parnell Dempster

I first met Parnell (‘Parnie’) Dempster in mid-1985 at the town of Williams, when I was commencing the Carrolup Project. He was living there at the time. Pat Nunn at the Marribank Family Centre had told me that he was one of only two surviving child artists of […]
11/06/2019
Videotape of the film about Carrolup, Show Us A Light, which was directed by Nancy Sokill and produced by Pat Nunn.

Show Us A Light

In 1986, the Carrolup Project Committee was set up by a Noongar community meeting held at Marribank. Its purpose was to oversee the Carrolup Project, which was to be funded by the Australian Bicentennial Authority, and comprised four key elements: To employ two trainees (1986-87), featured in a previous […]
05/06/2019
Invitation to the Reunion sent to former residents of Marribank Baptist Mission in 1992, designed by John Stanton at the request of the community.

Marribank Reunion

A reunion of former Marribank residents was held over the weekend of 14 – 15th November 1992, to officially open a further gallery of the Marribank Cultural Centre, which focused on the Marribank Baptist Mission years 1952 – 1980. This exhibition had been mounted by myself at the […]
31/05/2019

Don’t Forget To See ‘Carrolup Revisited’: Closes 29th June

This is simply a reminder to go and see, if you can, the current exhibition of Carrolup child art, and more recent Noongar works, at the Berndt Museum’s exhibition at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at the University of Western Australia, Perth. I am delighted to see the artworks […]
29/05/2019
Photographic exhibition at Marribank Cultural Centre, focussed on the Marribank Baptist Union years, 1952-80. Photo: John Stanton, 12th September 2007.

Art Continues After Closure of Marribank

The Baptist Union took over Carrolup in 1952 after its closure, renaming it Marribank Baptist Mission to avoid the negative connotations of the former Native Settlement. It was renamed Marribank Family Centre in 1980, and was run throughout the Baptist period as a residential home for Aboriginal children […]
21/05/2019
Landscape by Claude Kelly, pastel on paper, 18 x 25cm, c.1948. Stan, Melvie and Gael Phillips Collection, 1947 - 65, Berndt Museum of Anthropology.

Carrolup: Child Artists, Noongar Identity, and World Heritage

Two weeks ago, I attended the annual meeting of the Centre of Native Title Anthropology (CNTA), held in conjunction with the Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation. This workshop focused on the theme Native Title in a Time of Change. David Clark and I were invited to address the symposium […]
11/05/2019
A pastel by Reynold Hart donated to the Berndt Museum by Timothy Dauth. This is likely The Red Road which was drawn in 1950 and was purchased at the 1957 Boans exhibition organised by the W.A. Native Welfare Council (Inc.).

Workshop Presentation Sparks Painting Gift

When I commenced the Carrolup Project back in 1985, one of its purposes was to flush out surviving drawings and paintings by the child artists of Carrolup. Media coverage in the Great Southern Herald, the Katanning newspaper, assisted in this task. When the Noongar trainees Tina Hansen and […]
22/04/2019
Pastel drawing book of Edith Wallam, 28.5 x 22cm. The Myrtle K Benn Collection, 1947. Click image to see the whole front cover.

The Pastel Drawing Books

To begin with, the child artists used whatever pencils, pastel crayons and scraps of paper that were available at the Carrolup Native Settlement School. As the enthusiasm they expressed for their art was rapidly apparent, Noel White requested better materials from the Department of Education. Government Issue pastel […]
17/04/2019
A pastel drawing, 28.5 x 22cm, by Dulcie Penney from one of her government-issued schoolbooks. The Myrtle K Benn Collection, 1947.

Did the Carrolup girls draw, too? Yes!

People often ask me, ‘Did the girls at Carrolup draw, we only hear about the boys?’ There is a lot to say about this, much of it reflecting the punitive control the then Department of Native Affairs had over Aboriginal people’s lives, including those of the children. When […]
10/04/2019
The frieze below the ceiling in the westernmost dormitory at Carrolup. Photographed by John Stanton (The Carrolup Story), 27th November 2018.

The Dormitory Frieze

One of the most remarkable artefacts surviving at Carrolup/Marribank today is one element of a frieze that encircled one of the bedrooms in the westernmost of the two children’s dormitories—the left one viewed from the front of the buildings. According to Carrolup artist Parnell Dempster, the frieze comprised […]
27/03/2019
Leaning tree by Milton Jackson, pastel on paper, 41 x 33cm, c.1949. Noel & Lily White Collection, Berndt Museum of Anthropology. [WU7568]

Milton Jackson’s Long Lost Drawing

For Milton Jackson, the last surviving Carrolup child artist, attending the opening of the Colgate University crates in Katanning in 2006 (noted in an earlier posting) with his daughter Merlene Meade brought mixed emotions. His reconnection with an artwork he drew about 55 years earlier also affected all […]
19/03/2019
Angus Wallam (Centre) unscrews the first crate of works from Colgate University, as Milton Jackson (Far Left) and Ezzard Flowers (Mid Right) look on. The ABC’s Message Stick program records the moment. Photograph by John Stanton, 27th February 2006. Courtesy of Berndt Museum of Anthropology, The University of Western Australia.

Carrolup Art Arrives from Colgate University, 2006

There was great excitement in the Katanning Gallery as preparations were made to unscrew the lid of the first of several crates flown out from Colgate University, Hamilton, New York State, for the Perth International Arts Festival exhibition, Koorah Coolingah: Children Long Ago. The crates had sat acclimatising […]
06/03/2019
Pre-decimal Australian bank notes, Melbourne Mint, 1949.

Were the Children Paid for their Art?

I’m afraid the answer to this question is ‘No’! The child artists were minors at the time, as well as Wards of the State, so they couldn’t receive any money until they turned 21, the age of majority at that time. The funds earned from sales of their […]
13/02/2019
An element of the exhibition depicting ceremony and dance, in the Janet Holmes à Court Gallery, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery. Photographer: John Stanton, 12th February 2019.

Berndt Museum Exhibition ‘Carrolup Revisited’ Opens

The 8th of February saw the formal opening of the Berndt Museum’s new exhibition, Carrolup Revisited, at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, The University of Western Australia, which will last until the 29th of June. It was an emotional occasion for families of the child artists present, and […]
01/02/2019
Doris Flatt, one of Florence Rutter's daughters, during her interview with John Stanton at her home in Williton, Somerset, UK, in 2006.

Interview With Doris Flatt: Part 2

Doris Flatt was one of daughters of Florence Rutter, the self-appointed ‘ambassador’ to the Carrolup child artists. Over 100 years old at the time of the interview, Doris had strong memories of her mother’s great enthusiasm for their art, as she was determined to bring it to the […]
23/01/2019
Parnell Dempster's Down to Drink adorns a wall at the 45th Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society in London, 1951. Mrs Rutter proudly discusses the drawing with Mr and Mrs Richter. Mary Durack Miller Collection, J. S. Battye Library of West Australian History, 1951.

Interview With Doris Flatt: Part 1

Doris Flatt was one of the daughters of the 71-year old Englishwoman Florence Rutter, the self-appointed ‘ambassador’ to the Carrolup child artists. Over 100 years old at the time of this interview (May 2006), Doris had strong memories of her mother discussing the Carrolup artworks with great and […]
11/01/2019
Imagined corroboree by Reynold Hart, watercolour and ink on paper, 25 x 30cm, c.1948. Stan, Melvie and Gael Phillips Collection, 1947 - 65, Berndt Museum of Anthropology. [WU7255]

The Corroboree Artworks

A previous blog highlighted the child artists’ fascination with the liminality of dusk, the period between day and night. The night was also a time for ceremony. This is depicted most evocatively in, for example, Reynold Hart’s ‘Dancing Figures’, or his deceptively titled ‘Imagined Corroboree’—deceptive, in that this was […]
08/01/2019
Hunters by Revel Cooper, pastel on paper, 29 x 38cm, c.1948. Stan, Melvie and Gael Phillips Collection, 1947 – 65, Berndt Museum of Anthropology. [WU7304]

The Liminality of Dusk

The Carrolup child artists appear to have been particularly fascinated with the liminality of dusk. That is, the period between day and night when the light gradually fades to become night; when the breeze settles and becomes stillness personified, and when colours become simply black and white. When […]
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