Parnell Dempster

22/09/2020
A pastel by Parnell Dempster adorns a wall at the Pastel Society in London in 1951, proudly talked about by Mrs. Rutter.

Mrs Rutter in England, Early 1951

Today, I thought I’d try a novel approach to help me decide what I should write about from our book Connection: Aboriginal Child Artists Captivate Europe for this blog. I had an online random number generator select a number from 1 to 65 and I had to chose […]
18/03/2020
Exhibition of Carrolup art at Boans department store, The West Australian , 23rd October 1947. The boys from left to right are Claude Kelly, Barry Loo, Reynold Hart and Parnell Dempster. Noel & Lily White Collection.

Boans Exhibition of Carrolup Drawings

In an earlier blog, I described the early public acclaim the children of Carrolup received for their drawings and other work. John P Stokes, who had been editor of the Lord Forrest Centenary Booklet, in which five of the Carrolup children had their work included, asked the Department […]
01/02/2020
Carrolup boys with teachers Mr Ingram (left rear) and Noel and Lily White. Photographer: Vera Hack, January 1950. Noel & Lily White Collection.

70th Anniversary: A Special Visit

Seventy years ago yesterday, Mrs Florence Rutter and her friend Vera Hack arrived for their two and a half day visit of Carrolup Native Settlement. This visit was not only special in its own right, but it triggered a series of important events over the following two years, […]
28/01/2020
Mrs Rutter with Prince Rudy Dinah and a group of Carrolup girls. The girl second from the left is Mildred Jones. Photographer: Noel White, 31st July 1949. Noel & Lily White Collection.

Carrolup and Florence Rutter, Part 1

One of the fascinating elements of the Carrolup Story is that the Aboriginal child artists had an ‘ambassador’ for their work, a 71-year old Englishwoman, Mrs Florence Rutter. Mrs Rutter was given permission by the Western Australian government to exhibit and sell the children’s art, first around Australia […]
10/09/2019

Little Black Fingers

Mrs Florence Rutter, a 71-year old Englishwoman, visited Carrolup twice—in July 1949 and January/February 1950. She returned to England soon after her second visit, having received permission from the West Australian government to exhibit and sell the Carrolup children’s artworks (mainly the boys’ drawings). A Trust Fund had […]
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 […]
06/08/2019
Landscape by Parnell Dempster, pastel on paper, 29 x 37cm, c.1948. Stan, Melvie and Gael Phillips Collection, Berndt Museum of Anthropology. [WU7303]

Carrolup Child Artists: Competition and Encouragement

Soon after we started our Carrolup project, I interviewed my colleague John Stanton about a variety of elements of the story. In this film clip, John describes how the boys were rather secretive whilst doing their drawings. However, once they had finished a drawing, there was a collegial […]
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 […]
19/06/2019

Meeting Parnell Dempster

I first met Parnell (‘Parnie’) Dempster in mid-1985 at the town of Williams, when I was commencing the Carrolup Project. He was living there at the time. Pat Nunn at the Marribank Family Centre had told me that he was one of only two surviving child artists of […]
04/06/2019

Silencing the Doubters

In June 1948, three of the Carrolup boys caused a sensation in the south coast town of Albany. Here is what happened, as described in our forthcoming book The Aboriginal Child Artists of Carrolup. “Education Inspector Charles ‘Sammy’ Crabbe organises a Convention of Departmental Teachers in Albany in […]
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 […]
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 […]
26/02/2019
Mrs Rutter with Prince Rudy Dinah and a group of Carrolup girls. The girl second from the left is Mildred Jones. Photographer: Noel White, 31st July 1949. Noel & Lily White Collection.

Mrs Florence Rutter Visits Carrolup

One of the fascinating elements of the Carrolup Story is that the Aboriginal child artists had an ‘ambassador’ for their work, a 71-year old Englishwoman, Mrs Florence Rutter. Mrs Rutter was given permission by the Western Australian government to exhibit and sell the children’s art, first around Australia […]
12/02/2019
Exhibition of Carrolup art at Boans department store, The West Australian , 23rd October 1947. The boys from left to right are Claude Kelly, Barry Loo, Reynold Hart and Parnell Dempster. Noel & Lily White Collection.

Early Public Acclaim

How did the drawings of the Aboriginal children of Carrolup first become known to the general public? Here is a summary of some of the initial ‘successes’ of the children, which you can follow in more detail by reading the newspaper article to which we have linked. You […]
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 […]
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