The 1948 Carrolup School football team with their teacher, Noel White. Noel & Lily White Collection.

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 success of the children, along with the trusting and loving relationship that has developed between the children and their teachers, lead to increased jealousy and conflicts amongst Settlement staff, as well as to violence and government inquiries. Staff turnover at Carrolup is high, and several superintendents are dismissed or leave.

Mr White’s concerns and complaints about the squalid conditions in which the children live at Carrolup are not addressed.

The children’s beautiful art covers the schoolroom walls. Their schoolwork and schoolbooks are also impressive, and the school inspector Sammy Crabbe is brought to tears by their enchanting singing. The girls create beautiful designs and embroidery.

<em> Night Corroboree </em> by Vera Wallam, woollen tapestry on velvet frame, 33 x 40cm, 1948. Noel &amp; Lily White Collection, Berndt Museum of Anthropology.

Night Corroboree by Vera Wallam, woollen tapestry on velvet frame, 33 x 40cm, 1948. Noel & Lily White Collection, Berndt Museum of Anthropology.

The children attend a holiday camp next to Swanbourne beach in Perth, a trip organised by Mr and Mrs Amos of the Native Rights and Welfare League and approved by the Department of Native Affairs. Mr Amos says:

‘We found the children well-mannered and obedient… They reciprocated our trust and showed their appreciation of it in many ways.’ Frank Amos, 1949

He also notes that the children have clearly been neglected at Carrolup, as reflected in their physical condition and clothes.

Carrolup School football team is ‘never ever beaten’. When they travel to Perth, they soundly beat Thomas Street School in front of an audience of 2,000 people at Subiaco Oval. Strengthened by the inclusion of older Modern School pupils, Thomas Street still lose a second game. A tarpaulin muster raises over £70 (equivalent to $3,682 today) for the Carrolup boys. Was there ever a sporting team anywhere in the world that contained so many talented artists?

The artworks of the Carrolup children are shown at an exhibition in Mysore, India, from 2 November to 15 December arranged by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The theme of the seminar is the problem of rural adult education, with special regard to illiteracy and health education.

Pertinent Blog Posts:

1948 Carrolup School Football Team… and Art Display: Displaying ‘a particularly unique style of football’, the Carrolup boys beat Katanning School easily; six of the Carrolup team then give an impromptu art display in separate rooms.

The Classroom Photo: Artworks adorn the walls of the Carrolup schoolroom which is full with pupils, teachers and visitors—years later, community members identify most of the children in the photograph.

Carrolup Children’s Holiday Camp: The children spend eleven days at a military camp by a beautiful Perth beach and engage in a variety of pleasurable activities—their behaviour impresses their hosts and other members of the public.

‘Never Ever Beaten’: Carrolup Football Team: An audience of 2,000 at Subiaco Oval watch the Carrolup boys soundly beat Thomas Street School in Perth; Carrolup wins a second game three days later in front of a larger audience.

Carrolup Artworks Displayed in India: A total of 28 water colours, 34 crayon drawings and several specimens of stained woodwork are exhibited at a UNESCO-organised seminar in Mysore, India.

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