Revel Cooper

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 […]
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 […]
27/06/2019

To Regain Our Pride: Revel Cooper

In 1968, one of the best known Carrolup artists, Revel Cooper, wrote a seminal article in the Aboriginal Quarterly whilst he was serving time in H.M. Training Prison in Geelong in Victoria. In this article, Revel emphasises the importance of pride to Aboriginal people. In To Regain Our […]
06/06/2019

An Extraordinary Human Being: Jan James R.I.P.

I am still struggling to come to terms with the fact that my close friend Jan James is physically not with us anymore. Jan passed away last Friday night, the 31st May 2019. She was one of the most extraordinary people I have ever known. Here is a […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
16/01/2019
Blackboys by Revel Cooper, watercolour on paper, 38 x 57cm, 1964. Purchased from George Abdullah, Perth, 1965. Berndt Museum of Anthropology. [WU3269]

Carrolup: John Stanton’s 40-Year Journey

As my colleague John Stanton is away on holiday in New Zealand, I thought I’d take this opportunity to blog about John’s association with Carrolup for a period of over 40 years. That’s a serious, long-standing interest and commitment! The initial large section of this blog come from […]
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 […]
07/12/2018
The children's dormitories at Carrolup today. Photograph taken by John Stanton on 26th November 2018.

Institutionalisation of the Carrolup children

In recent blog posting, David revealed the memories of Carrolup artist Revel Cooper about life on Carrolup in the first half of 1940s, when the children were ‘running wild’. In his most recent posting, he described Revel’s memories of the time when Mrs Elliot was teacher between 1945 […]
05/12/2018
Photographs of three of the Carrolup boys. Sunday Times , 7th July 1945. Retrieved from Trove, National Library of Australia.

The Arrival of Mrs Elliot at Carrolup

In my last blog, I wrote how Michael Liu and I found a ‘letter’ written by Carrolup artist Revel Cooper in 1960, which described how the children were ‘running wild’ at Carrolup Native Settlement during the first half of the 1940s. Revel went on to say: After the […]
03/12/2018
First page of a description of life at Carrolup Native Settlement written by Carrolup artist Revel Cooper in 1960. Doreen Trainor Collection, J. S. Battye Library of West Australian History. [Click the image to see the full page. The letter continued, '... were of the very lowest standards' on the second page.]

Running Wild – Revel Cooper’s Memories of Carrolup

When close friend and filmmaker Michael Liu and I were researching the life of Carrolup artist Revel Cooper, we came across an important ‘letter’ he wrote that was in the Doreen Trainor Collection at Battye Library. Revel wrote his memories of Carrolup Native Settlement from the time he […]
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) […]
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