Long-lost crayon drawings created by Aboriginal children at Mount Margaret Mission in 1939 are the subject of a new publication produced by the State Government’s Aboriginal History WA.
The publication ‘Remembering Mount Margaret Mission’ is being released today to mark National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day.
The book is an insight into the lives of Aboriginal children living at the Mount Margaret Mission, located on Wongatha land in the Goldfields-Esperance region.
Largely unseen until recently, the drawings are a window into traditional life, the natural environment and the creative minds of some of Western Australia’s Aboriginal children in the mid-20th century.
Four Elders who were at the school in the 1930s were consulted on its research and publication, with two of the Elders’ artwork being featured.
The publication provides a reflection from one of the Elders, Mrs Laurel Cooper, who speaks of her memories of the mission, which is historically considered more progressive than similar institutions of the time.
Some of the artists featured in the publication would go on to achieve national recognition in their professional life and in their community.
Remembering Mount Margaret Mission is available on the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries’ website.
As stated by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti:
“Remembering Mount Margaret Mission was produced with the co-operation of the Mount Margaret Aboriginal community, some of whom were at the mission in the 1930s and produced the featured drawings.
“It tells a history that seldom gets told – that of Aboriginal children, many of whom had been forcibly removed from their families and sent to the mission in line with the Government policy at the time.
“I recommend that anyone with an interest in the history of Western Australia takes time to look at this fascinating and significant work.”