Carrolup was established during World War I as a 'government settlement' for Aboriginal people on a traditional camping ground on the banks of the Carrolup River outside Katanning. Some huts were built with materials salvaged from the Welshpool Reserve in Perth, and food shortages and hunger were common.
The Australian Aborigines Mission (AAM) was involved with Carrolup. Ethel and William John Fryer, previously from Dulhi Gunyah Orphanage in Victoria Park, were appointed by the government to manage Carrolup from 1915 to 1918. The Fryers continued at Carrolup after their association with the Australian Aborigines' Mission finished (around late 1917).
In 1916 it became apparent that staff were using corporal punishment against children at the Carrolup settlement. In response to this, Carrolup was ordered by the Department of the Chief Protector of Aborigines to keep a punishment book recording details about punishments used against children under 'Regulation 11', including their name, the reason for punishment, and the punishment inflicted. (This punishment book is now held at the State Records Office of Western Australia, in Series 2031 'Files (Aboriginal matters) - Chief Secretary's Department').
Prior to William Fryer's resignation as Superintendent in June 1918, an incident had been reported in the local paper about his brutal discipline at Carrolup:
'In an action instigated by William Fryer against an Aboriginal man whom Fryer claimed had enticed young female resident from Carrolup, a story emerged that the girl had been chained by the neck to a bed from a Saturday to Monday to prevent her leaving the settlement. Fryer asserted that the chaining was not the reason the girl had left and that his actions were an attempt to follow instructions to prevent girls leaving the settlement only to return pregnant, or with a child. Longworth, p.200'
No charges were laid against Fryer for this or other actions and he remained at Carrolup until John B. Blake was appointed to relieve him in August 1918. The AAM was no longer managing Carrolup, but its missionaries continued to work there.
A description of Carrolup by AAM missionary Edith Fisher in May 1918 reported that children transferred there from Dulhi Gunyah 'broke down' with homesickness, and that Nyungar adults 'lived in camps outside the fence'. Hope Malcolm arrived from the AAM in NSW to replace Fisher in 1920.
In June 1922 Carrolup was closed by the Fisheries Department, which had control of matters relating to Aboriginal people. All residents were sent to the Moore River Native Settlement.
13 April 2022
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00932
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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