When teacher Noel White arrived at Carrolup Native Settlement in Western Australia in 1946, he was unable to communicate with the traumatised Aboriginal children as they were so fearful. The children had been removed from their families as part of government policy and lived in squalid conditions. Mr White connected with the children and empowered them to create beautiful drawings that gained public acclaim. They also displayed outstanding sporting achievements.
Seventy-one-year old Englishwoman Mrs Florence Rutter was so captivated by the children after visiting Carrolup, she promised them she would make their drawings known throughout the world. She exhibited the drawings in Europe to much acclaim, but the government closed Carrolup school in 1950. We have taken up Mrs Rutter’s mantle with our multi-platform project. We are not only telling the children’s inspiring story, but also helping them ‘reach out’ from the past to facilitate the healing of trauma amongst Aboriginal people.