Home / World News / Old boy’s school to become artistic portal to Stolen Generations truth in heart of Perth

Old boy’s school to become artistic portal to Stolen Generations truth in heart of Perth

Remarkable paintings from Stolen Generations children as young as six will be placed on display in the heart of Perth after securing a new funding deal from Lotterywest.

The 168-year-old Perth Boy’s School building below BHP’s CBD office tower will become a window to the famed Carrolup/Marribank children’s paintings currently on display at the John Curtin Gallery.

State Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti and WA Governor Kim Beasley on Thursday announced a new three-year, $1.76m Lotterywest fund for the Carrolup Centre for Truth Telling at Curtin University.

Carrolup Centre manager Kathleen Toomath, whose mother was taken to Carrolup aged four, said the prominent location would provide an important educational tool for visitors to better understand Australia’s dark history.

Carrolup manager Kathleen Toomath and John Curtin Gallery Australian First Nations Art curator Michelle Broun with some of the Carrolup works
Camera IconCarrolup manager Kathleen Toomath and John Curtin Gallery Australian First Nations Art curator Michelle Broun with some of the Carrolup works Credit: Sam Proctor

“It is a sad indictment on Australia that there are many people who have gone through the education system and still have no understanding of the reality of what colonial settlement did,” she said.

“We own pain now, we own trauma, we own a foul legacy of colonial settlement housed within our minds and bodies through the impact of driving us away from our country.

“These things are profoundly damaging to anyone, and the fact we can see that through the lens of a child, see how those children built resilience and continued connection to their country through Western landscape designs, is invaluable.”

Of 122 paintings repatriated, just 17 artists have been identified, and a key part of Carrolup Centre’s research is to put names to more works and connect families to their ancestors.

Carrolup Images 2 .Historical photos at Carrolup from the Noel White and Lily White and White Collection
P15799.01
School children at Carrolup Native School, with Mr and Mrs White at the rear, with their two children Ross White and Noeline White at far left. Visitors from Katanning are lined along the rear wall. Noel and Lily White Collection, c. 1948.
Details (see P15779.02):
1. Edith Smith; 2 Johnny Smith; 3. Emily Bennett; 4. Revel Cooper; 5. Reynold Hart; 6. ? Dempster; 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. Joyce Colbung; 17. Lily White; 18. Alice Mead; 19. Margaret Bennell; 20. Shirley Wallam; 21. John Cuttabuck; 22. Bessie Smith; 23. Inas Smith; 24. Geoffrey Stack; 25. Lindsey Wallam; 26. Elizabeth Indich; 27. Neol White; 28. Mickey Jackson; 29. Brian Culbong; 30. Neoline White; 31. Dulcie Penny; 32. Syd Jackson; 33. Ross White.
Camera IconCarrolup Images 2 .Historical photos at Carrolup from the Noel White and Lily White and White Collection
P15799.01
School children at Carrolup Native School, with Mr and Mrs White at the rear, with their two children Ross White and Noeline White at far left. Visitors from Katanning are lined along the rear wall. Noel and Lily White Collection, c. 1948.
Details (see P15779.02):
1. Edith Smith; 2 Johnny Smith; 3. Emily Bennett; 4. Revel Cooper; 5. Reynold Hart; 6. ? Dempster; 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. Joyce Colbung; 17. Lily White; 18. Alice Mead; 19. Margaret Bennell; 20. Shirley Wallam; 21. John Cuttabuck; 22. Bessie Smith; 23. Inas Smith; 24. Geoffrey Stack; 25. Lindsey Wallam; 26. Elizabeth Indich; 27. Neol White; 28. Mickey Jackson; 29. Brian Culbong; 30. Neoline White; 31. Dulcie Penny; 32. Syd Jackson; 33. Ross White.

Credit: Unknown/Supplied

The portal itself on St George’s Terrace will house a selection of the paintings once the building has appropriate climate control and casings.

It is hoped the high-profile location will guide more people to the new ground floor gallery planned at Curtin’s Bentley campus for the wider collection.

“Where it is located is quite a prestigious part of town in regards to building, mining and top-end activities,” Ms Toomath said.

“They are potentially the voices that have the power to change.”

Mr Buti said the new portal and gallery would become important spaces for reconciliation.

“Genuine reconciliation requires the WA community to recognise and respect Aboriginal people, acknowledge past injustices and ongoing inequalities, and commit to working towards a more equitable future,” he said.

WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti.
Camera IconWA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr/Tom Zaunmayr

The Carrolup artworks were painted by children taken to the mission near Katanning and were repatriated to Australia in 2013 after spending four decades hidden overseas.

Since repatriation from New York’s Colgate University, Curtin and Carrolup survivors and descendants have been working towards finding a permanent home for the art.

Mr Beazley, the founding patron of the Carrolup Centre, described a permanent home for the collection as an “essential aid for the truth telling needed for healing”.

“We are learning the richness and resilience of the culture we damaged so severely as we moved onto this land 200 years ago,” Mr Beazley said.

“Nothing better illustrates that resilience than the artwork of the stolen children of Carrolup.”

On with the Dance, circa 1949.
Camera IconOn with the Dance, circa 1949. Credit: Mark Williams

Carrolup Elders Reference Group chairman Tony Hansen said the Lotterywest funding would contribute to transgenerational healing.

Mr Hansen was taken from his family in 1970 and placed in Marribank at the age of three, spending the next 15 years of his life there.

“Schoolchildren from Years 5 to 12 will also be able to gain a greater understanding and awareness of our shared history, First Nations’ culture and heritage, and the impacts of 200 years of settlement colonisation within WA,” he said.

“This program will offer excursion opportunities and supplementary educational collateral for use within classrooms.

“These steps will form an important part of WA’s reconciliation journey, recognising the cultural and historical significance of these precious artworks.”

Tony Hansen outside the laneway where Indigenous parents would be taken when trying to get their children back during the Stolen Generations.
Camera IconTony Hansen outside the laneway where Indigenous parents would be taken when trying to get their children back during the Stolen Generations. Credit: Giovanni Torre/Giovanni Torre

About brandsauthority

Check Also

Patient and Confident, Putin Shifts Out of Wartime Crisis Mode

Early in his war against Ukraine, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia appeared tense, angry …

%d bloggers like this: