Department of Native Affairs

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 […]
12/03/2019
Department of Native Affairs file on James Cooper, father of Carrolup artist Revel Cooper (p. 1).

Revel Cooper’s Early Life

Revel Cooper became one of the most famous, if not the most famous, of the Carrolup artists. However, he lived a troubled life, despite his success as an artist. Revel spent many years in and out of prison in Western Australia and Victoria. He also suffered from a drinking problem, […]
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 […]
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