Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this website, and its links, contain images and voices of people who have passed away.

Traumatised Aboriginal children living in the squalor of a 1940s government native settlement in Western Australia are inspired by their white schoolteacher to create beautiful landscape drawings that gain international acclaim, challenge a government’s racist policies, and inspire four generations of Noongar artists.

Available now as a downloadable eBook

Connection uses ‘faces’ and ‘voices’ of the past to take you into a world where Aboriginal children rise above great adversity to create beautiful landscape drawings that are acclaimed on both sides of the world. Connection is a story of trauma, and the overcoming of trauma. A story that resonates in today’s world of the oppressed and their oppressors. A story of Hope, Heart and Healing.

'… the book is nothing short of incredible.'
Carlie Atkinson, CEO, We Al-li Programs

More about the book

Latest Blogs

16/08/2022

Cliff Ryder’s Artwork Returns Home

Last week, I wrote about the beautiful relationship John and I have with the family of Cliff Ryder, one of the renowned Aboriginal child artists of Carrolup. There, I linked to the nine blog posts I have written about the family over the past three years, in particular […]
11/08/2022

Our Very Special Connection: Cliff Ryder’s Family

‘Cliff Ryder’s name was appearing on some of the best pictures, and his manual work, at a country show, had been judged the best of any child in the Katanning district. A serious, sincere, boy, he listened attentively to his lessons, always intent on pleasing and doing the […]
03/08/2022

Our Visit to Casuarina Prison

John and I first visited Casuarina maximum security prison for males in Perth back in November 2020 to give talks about the Carrolup child artists and to see the art class in operation. We also visited last year and then again on 7/8 July this year for NAIDOC […]

‘There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children.’

Nelson Mandela

Slideshow of photos relating to the story of the Aboriginal child artists of Carrolup. The background song 'Carrolup' was written by Dilip Parekh, a Fremantle-based musician, in 2007 and performed by Dilip 'n the Davs. You can hear the full song here.

Journal of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society

David gave a talk about the Aboriginal child artists of Carrolup at the Royal Western Australian Historical Society on 11 September 2020. He also wrote an article for Society’s Annual Journal Early Days. You can download a pdf copy of the article.

‘Healing is not just about recovering what we have lost or repairing what has been broken. It is about embracing our life force to create a new and vibrant fabric that keeps us grounded and connected, wraps us in warmth and love and gives us the joy of seeing what we have created.’

Helen Milroy

Healing

18/07/2022

Film Clips of My Conversation With Huseyin Djemil About Addiction Recovery

Last year, I was interviewed by Huseyin Djemil of Towards Recovery for his ‘Journeys’ podcast. I was really pleased to be Huseyin’s first interviewee for his podcast, as I hold him and his initiative in high regard. It was also really nice to talk to him again, the […]
10/04/2022

Michael’s 44th Sober Anniversary, and an Update

My good friend Michael (Mike) Scott from Perth, Western Australia, last had a drink of alcohol 44 years (16,060 days) ago today. This morning, I’m going to celebrate his achievement with a blog post. Mike first contacted me about our Daily Dose website back in 2002 when I […]
16/03/2022

What is distinctive about an ABCD Process – Four Essential Elements

Here, I share the results of John McKnight and Cormac Russell’s deliberation about what is distinctive about an Asset-Based Community Development process. ‘The primary goal of an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) process is to enhance collective citizen visioning and production. This paper discusses each of four essential elements […]

‘Land is a story place. Land holds the stories of human survival across the generations. Land shapes people, just as people shape their countries.’

Judy Atkinson

‘Stories help us develop empathy. They allow us to understand another person’s world from their perspective.’

Lewis Mehl-Madrona

Story

09/11/2018

Colonisation

The colonisation of Australia by Europeans had a massive negative impact on a peoples and culture that has existed for over 50,000 years. The first settlers brought diseases that wiped out large numbers of Aboriginal people, as they had no immunity to European diseases. Many of the survivors existed […]
09/11/2018

Trauma

Revel Cooper, a Noongar boy, is made a Ward of the State by the Department of Native Affairs and sent to Carrolup at the age of six in 1940. In a letter written in 1960 about life on Carrolup Native Settlement, Revel presents a vivid picture of Aboriginal […]
09/11/2018

Connection

When teacher Noel White arrives at Carrolup in May 1946, he is unable to communicate with the Aboriginal children. They sit sullenly and silently at their schoolroom desks. ‘The first week at school with our new teacher we were all scared stiff. I think if it wasn’t for […]
09/11/2018

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 has a […]
09/11/2018

Football

Carrolup Native Settlement school’s football team attracts particular attention in 1948, beating local teams playing ‘a particularly unique style of football within the Australian code.’ After one match, pupils of Katanning school are given an impromptu demonstration of the art skills of six members of the Carrolup team. The […]
09/11/2018

Florence

In July 1949, a 71-year old Englishwoman Mrs Florence Rutter briefly visits Carrolup and purchases five pounds worth of drawings and designs. She exhibits the drawings and designs in eight cities around Australia and New Zealand, and receives many orders for the children’s artworks. The Department of Native Affairs agrees […]
09/11/2018

Letters

Once Mrs. Rutter returns to the U.K., she continues to update the School on her progress. She receives many welcome letters from the Carrolup boys during 1950. ‘Every letters [sic] you write Mr White reads it out to the school children. We are very proud of you and […]
09/11/2018

Europe

Initially, Native Affairs Commissioner Mr S G Middleton writes enthusiastic letters to Mrs Rutter. She organises an exhibition in Appeldoorn, the Netherlands, where the art is acclaimed. People’s perceptions of ‘Stone-Age’ Aboriginal people are changed. However, an open conflict breaks out between the new supervisor at Carrolup, Mr […]
09/11/2018

Outcry

Mr Middleton tries to justify the school’s closure in a letter to The West Australian newspaper. He talks about sending the boys to missions and says: ‘… they will at last begin to receive some spiritual education and training which may not yet be too late to stabilise sufficiently their characters to a point where they may […]
09/11/2018

Shattered

The boys’ dreams of a better future are shattered by the school closure and their later experiences in a white dominated society which considers them ‘inferior’. Revel Cooper says the decision to close the school: ‘… closed the pathway to a better way of life for coloured people.’ […]
09/11/2018

Search

Social Anthropologist John Stanton first learns about the Carrolup children’s art in 1976 when he sees two Revel Cooper landscapes framing Ronald and Catherine Berndt’s study door at the University of Western Australia. He reads Child Artists of the Australian Bush by Mary Durack Miller and Florence Rutter, […]
09/11/2018

Discovery

In 2004, John Stanton’s close Australian friend Professor Howard Morphy is invited to visit Colgate University in Upper New York State by the Director of Colgate’s Picker Gallery. The Gallery set aside some Aboriginal artefacts for him to look at. When Howard arrives, the Gallery Curator, Diane Butler, mentions that […]

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’

Margaret Mead

About us

The Carrolup Story project brings together kindred spirits who believe strongly in the healing power of Story. The project is based on the core values of authenticity, belonging, connection, courage, creativity, empathy, empowerment, safety and trust.

More about us


Please do not hesitate to contact us with any enquiries

Translate »

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close