Our Carrolup Project: An Update

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 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.

First of all, I’d like to wish everyone reading this post the very best for 2022. We’ve all been going through tough times during the pandemic—hopefully things will improve in the coming year.

I thought it was time to do a little update (and recap) of what has been happening with our project.

It’s hard to believe that it is over three years since my colleagues John Stanton, Ash Whitney (our web designer) and I launched The Carrolup Story, our Storytelling, Education and Healing online resource. The website was launched on 9 November 2018, the date being the 85th birthday of Noelene White, the daughter of Carrolup Native Settlement School teacher Noel White. Noelene had given us access to all her family’s memorabilia relating to the story of Carrolup (and more), which has been an enormous help for our project.

Of course, we’d been working together on this project (and other related Carrolup projects) for a longer period of time. I’ve been working on Carrolup-related matters for over five years and John… well, he’s been working on matters related to Carrolup for a period of over 45 years. Amazing really! John’s contribution (and stamina), not mine!!

Since The Carrolup Story website was first launched, it has grown to over 300 pages, which include 273 blog posts (well, 274 including this one). That’s 178 Story blog posts and 96 Healing blog posts. In addition, the website includes a Story section that comprises twelve pages summarising different stages of the story and providing links to the most pertinent blog posts relating to this stage of the story.

There are four Galleries—Art (photos of 30 artworks), Photos (60), Memorabilia (66 items, including newspaper articles, letters, pages from schoolbooks, personal items, government documents) and Videos (39). These videos are also ‘stored’ on The Carrolup Story YouTube channel. There is also a Healing Video Gallery, with links to 29 key videos made by other people. I’ll be expanding that collection shortly.

The book section provides details about the eBook I have written, entitled Connection: Aboriginal Child Artists Captivate Europewhich was launched in June 2020, which is an in-depth description of the story (nearly 150,000 words). It uses ‘faces’ and ‘voices’ of the past, and provides access to a wealth of photographs, pictures of the children’s art and schoolwork, letters, documents and media clippings, that help bring the story ‘alive’. The book can be purchased (A$9.99) from Apple, Amazon or Kobo.

‘… the book is northing short of incredible.’ Carlie Atkinson, CEO, We Al-Li Healing Programs, Australia

‘Beautiful work. And very timely…’ Dr Bruce D Perry, The ChildTrauma Academy, Houston, US

In addition to this book, I have submitted a shorter version of the book, entitled Carrolup: A true story of Aboriginal child artists challenging a government’s racist policies. I hope to hear from the publisher in the near future.

During the course of this project, John and I have given a number of talks in Perth and other places. In addition, we are helping develop a new community initiative related to Carrolup, which I will talk about in a future blog.

I should point out that John and I have received no funding at all for this project. I should also point out that in addition to this project, we are both working on other initiatives, including the writing of books. This obviously limits the time we can spend on this project to some extent.

We would like to emphasise how much we have enjoyed working on this project. It’s important to us that not only we spread the story of the child artists of Carrolup, but also help facilitate the healing of trauma amongst Aboriginal and other peoples.

We would like to thank all those people with whom we have interacted with on this project. It’s been one of our great pleasures, interacting with a wide variety of people.

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