Carrolup and Florence Rutter, Part 4

Bounding for Home by Barry Loo, watercolour and black ink on paper, 30.2 x 50.5cm, 1950. The Herbert Mayer Collection of Carrolup Artwork, John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University.

Bounding for Home by Barry Loo, watercolour and black ink on paper, 30.2 x 50.5cm, 1950. The Herbert Mayer Collection of Carrolup Artwork, John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University.

Mrs Rutter returns to Perth after her tour of Australia and New Zealand in January 1950. She is approached by Mrs Vera Hack, who informs Florence that she is willing to drive her down to Carrolup and stay there with her as long as she likes.

Florence then meets the newly appointed Minister for Native Affairs, Mr Hubert Parker, who tells her to contact the Commissioner of Native Affairs, Mr Stanley Middleton.

I spent two hours with Mr Middleton… I’ve agreed to abide by their decision as to how to use the money earned by the boys for their work, and to go ahead getting all the publicity for them. No single picture has been sent anywhere yet, but now that we have arrived at a decision, we are going to be busy… My, I’ve let myself in for something!’ Florence Rutter, Personal Diary, 23rd January 1950

I continue with a section of my forthcoming book, Aboriginal Child Artists of Carrolup, written in association with John Stanton.

“Barry Loo, now working for the Department of Native Affairs in Perth, agrees to paint six pictures for Mrs Rutter and she gives him a box of watercolours, purchased in Auckland, to enable him to do the work.  

A ten-day display of Mrs Rutter’s original collection is arranged for a shop in King Street, owned by a Mrs Brearley. Florence is interviewed by a Mrs Bisset for Woman’s Weekly, then meets Mary Durack Miller to discuss plans for their proposed joint book. 

On the following day, she meets Noel White who shows her a collection of the boys’ work and suggests she take two pictures as a ‘thank you’ for all the work she is doing on their behalf. Noel informs Mrs Rutter that they are hoping to form a Council to deal with the selling of the pictures and would like her to be the President. They arrange to see Mr Middleton to discuss these plans, and then head off to buy more art equipment for the boys with the money that Mrs Rutter has collected.

A roundtable conference is held in Perth—with Mr Middleton and Mr Sully (the new Carrolup superintendent), Noel and Lily White, Mrs Rutter and Mrs Hack—that discusses the future policy of the sale of the Carrolup children’s art. The roundtable participants all seem to want the best for the children and to be in agreement as to the way forward. A Trust Fund is to be set up on behalf of the young artists—‘The Florence Rutter Trust Fund’—into which the money collected by Mrs Rutter for sale of the boys’ art would be placed. [1]

Met Mr and Mrs White to go to the Commissioner’s office to meet the Superintendent of Carrolup Settlement and have our roundtable conference on future policy of sales of Aboriginal Art. They were kind enough to say the Trust Fund to be created for these boys should be named the ‘Florence Rutter Trust Fund’ in acknowledgement of the work I was doing for them. We had a two hour session and got things settled as far as we could go.’ Florence Rutter, Personal Diary, 27th January 1950

Mrs Hack picks up Mrs Rutter… for the car trip down to Katanning on the morning of the 30th of January. They take a diversion to visit Francis Xavier’s Mission at Wandering Brook for two hours…” ©Aboriginal Child Artists of Carrolup by David Clark, in association with John Stanton

The reason the two women visit Francis Xavier’s Mission at Wandering Brook is to see the girls of Carrolup who had been moved from the native settlement to either this Mission or Roelands Mission by the Department of Native Affairs. I will discuss this move in a later blog.

Mrs Hack and Mrs Rutter travel over 250 miles (400 kms) that day and arrive tired and dusty at their hotel in Katanning close to 10.00 pm, over 12 hours after they left Perth. They visit Carrolup the following day.

Today is the 70th Anniversary of Florence Rutter and Vera Hack’s visit to Carrolup. More of this visit tomorrow.

[1] The plan was this money to be used by the school at Carrolup to support the art and other activities of the boys.

[Please check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series if you have not already done so.]

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