Parnell Dempster

10/09/2019

Little Black Fingers

Mrs Florence Rutter, a 71-year old Englishwoman, visited Carrolup twice—in July 1949 and January/February 1950. She returned to England soon after her second visit, having received permission from the West Australian government to exhibit and sell the Carrolup children’s artworks (mainly the boys’ drawings). A Trust Fund had […]
22/08/2019
Mr and Mrs White with some of the Carrolup boys and the Peet family. Back row: Barry Loo, Mr. Peet, Noel White, Adrian Allen and Mrs. Peet. Middle row: Lily White and the three Peet girls. Front row: Parnell Dempster, unidentified boy and Reynold Hart. Photograph taken in 1949. Noel & Lily White Collection.

Walking Alongside As Equals

In my last Healing blog Do Things With Us, Not To Us: Chris Sarra, I posted the words of one of the country’s leading educators talking about the interaction between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Here are three key paragraphs: ‘I can assure you that we as Aboriginal people […]
06/08/2019
Landscape by Parnell Dempster, pastel on paper, 29 x 37cm, c.1948. Stan, Melvie and Gael Phillips Collection, Berndt Museum of Anthropology. [WU7303]

Carrolup Child Artists: Competition and Encouragement

Soon after we started our Carrolup project, I interviewed my colleague John Stanton about a variety of elements of the story. In this film clip, John describes how the boys were rather secretive whilst doing their drawings. However, once they had finished a drawing, there was a collegial […]
30/07/2019
The 1948 Carrolup School football team with their teacher, Noel White.

1948 Carrolup School Football Team… and Art Display

Last year, I posted a blog about the ‘never ever beaten’ [1] Carrolup School Football team, describing their trip to Perth in September 1949 where they twice beat Thomas Street School at Subiaco. Here is what we know about the Carrolup School football team from before 1949: There […]
16/07/2019
Some of the Carrolup young artists. Front row: Reynold Hart (Far Left), Parnell Dempster (Middle) and Revel Cooper (Far Right). Back row, 2nd Left: Barry Loo. Do you know who the other boys are?

Child Artists of Carrolup: Reflections

Mary Durack Miller, in association with Florence Rutter, wrote a book about the Aboriginal child artists of Carrolup entitled, Child Artists of the Australian Bush, which was published in June 1952. Florence Rutter met the child artists through her two visits to Carrolup in 1949 and 1950 and exhibited their artworks […]
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 […]
04/06/2019

Silencing the Doubters

In June 1948, three of the Carrolup boys caused a sensation in the south coast town of Albany. Here is what happened, as described in our forthcoming book The Aboriginal Child Artists of Carrolup. “Education Inspector Charles ‘Sammy’ Crabbe organises a Convention of Departmental Teachers in Albany in […]
07/05/2019
A pastel by Parnell Dempster adorns a wall at the Pastel Society in London in 1951, proudly talked about by Mrs. Rutter.

Carrolup Art Reaches Europe

Just a reminder that you can find links to a summary of the Carrolup Story in 12 parts here. These summaries start with the impact of colonisation on Aboriginal people and end with the ‘missing’ Mrs Rutter collection of Carrolup art being permanently returned to Noongar Boodja (Country) […]
30/04/2019
Some of the Carrolup young artists. Front row: Reynold Hart (Far Left), Parnell Dempster (Middle) and Revel Cooper (Far Right). Back row, 2nd Left: Barry Loo. Do you know who the other boys are?

Noelene White’s Memories: The Art

Noelene White, daughter of Carrolup teacher Noel White, has worked closely with us on our project. In fact, John and Noelene have known each other for nearly 35 years. In an earlier blog, we included a section from the chapter Noelene White’s Memories in our forthcoming book which focused on […]
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 […]
26/02/2019
Mrs Rutter with Prince Rudy Dinah and a group of Carrolup girls. The girl second from the left is Mildred Jones. Photographer: Noel White, 31st July 1949. Noel & Lily White Collection.

Mrs Florence Rutter Visits Carrolup

One of the fascinating elements of the Carrolup Story is that the Aboriginal child artists had an ‘ambassador’ for their work, a 71-year old Englishwoman, Mrs Florence Rutter. Mrs Rutter was given permission by the Western Australian government to exhibit and sell the children’s art, first around Australia […]
12/02/2019
Exhibition of Carrolup art at Boans department store, The West Australian , 23rd October 1947. The boys from left to right are Claude Kelly, Barry Loo, Reynold Hart and Parnell Dempster. Noel & Lily White Collection.

Early Public Acclaim

How did the drawings of the Aboriginal children of Carrolup first become known to the general public? Here is a summary of some of the initial ‘successes’ of the children, which you can follow in more detail by reading the newspaper article to which we have linked. You […]
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 […]
29/11/2018
Carrolup School, a healing sanctuary during the time that Noel White was teacher, May 1946 - December 1950. Photographer: John Stanton, 26th November 2018.

Adventures in the South West

On Monday, John and I travelled down to Albany to stay with my good friend Tony Davis. We stopped at The Woolshed in Williams,  where John ate a tasty savoury muffin and I gorged on a lamb and rosemary pie.  John reflected on how he had stopped at […]
16/11/2018
The 1949 Carrolup Native Settlement School football team that won two football games in Perth in September 1949. They were 'Never Ever Beaten'. The West Australian 1st September 1949.

‘Never Ever Beaten’: Carrolup Football Team

Aboriginal boys at Carrolup Native Settlement weren’t just wonderful artists, they also had a fantastic football team. They played local schools and won very easily. For example, in 1949 they beat Katanning School by 21.19 to 1.2 and Wagin School by 18.7 to 0.3. In September that year, they were […]
15/11/2018
The children of Carrolup in their schoolroom with the White family and visitors from Katanning. Photographer: Noelene White, late 1948 or early 1949. Noel & Lily White Collection.

The Classroom Photo

Key to photo: (1) Edith Smith, (2) Johnny Smith, (3) Emily Bennett, (4) Revel Cooper, (5) Reynold Hart, (6) unknown, (7) Mervyn Smith, (8) Vera Wallam, (9) Parnell Dempster, (10) Ross Jones, (11) Tilly Wallam, (12) Janine Bennell, (13) Keith Indich, (14) Marlene Mead, (15) Philip Jackson, (16) […]
09/11/2018
Exhibition of Carrolup art at Boans department store, The West Australian , 23rd October 1947. The boys from left to right are Claude Kelly, Barry Loo, Reynold Hart and Parnell Dempster. Noel & Lily White Collection.

Acclaim

In 1947, the children’s drawings attract public attention locally at the Katanning Show, and further afield in Perth. ​Three children (Reynold Hart, Dulcie Penny and Vera Wallam) have their articles accepted in the Lord Forrest Centenary Booklet – in competition with other children from all over the state – whilst Parnell Dempster […]
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