Parnell Dempster

26/02/2019

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

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

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

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 […]
29/11/2018

Adventures in the South West

On Monday, John and I travelled down to Albany to stay with my good friend Tony Davis. We stopped at The Woolshed in Williams,  where John ate a tasty savoury muffin and I gorged on a lamb and rosemary pie.  John reflected on how he had stopped at […]
16/11/2018

‘Never Ever Beaten’: Carrolup Football Team

Aboriginal boys at Carrolup Native Settlement weren’t just wonderful artists, they also had a fantastic football team. They played local schools and won very easily. For example, in 1949 they beat Katanning School by 21.19 to 1.2 and Wagin School by 18.7 to 0.3. In September that year, they were […]
15/11/2018

The Classroom Photo

Key to photo: (1) Edith Smith, (2) Johnny Smith, (3) Emily Bennett, (4) Revel Cooper, (5) Reynold Hart, (6) unknown, (7) Mervyn Smith, (8) Vera Wallam, (9) Parnell Dempster, (10) Ross Jones, (11) Tilly Wallam, (12) Janine Bennell, (13) Keith Indich, (14) Marlene Mead, (15) Philip Jackson, (16) […]
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

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

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.’ […]
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