Carrolup was established in 1915 as a government-run 'native settlement'. The first Superintendent was from the Australian Aborigines Mission (AAM), which also provided volunteer staff. Aboriginal children were sent to Carrolup from different parts of the State. When Carrolup closed in June 1922, all residents were sent to the Moore River Native Settlement.
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.
Sources used to compile this entry: Jacobs, Pat, Mister Neville: a biography, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, Fremantle, 1990. p.68.; Longworth, Alison, Was it worthwhile?, An historical analysis of five women missionaries and their encounters with the Nyungar people of south-west Australia, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, 2005, http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/163/2/02Whole.pdf. pp.93, 152, 162, 199.; State Solicitor's Office of Western Australia, 'p.26', Guide to Institutions Attended by Aboriginal People in Western Australia, Government of Western Australia, 2005, http://web.archive.org/web/20140126131607/http://www.dpc.wa.gov.au/lantu/MediaPublications/Documents/Guide-to-Institutions-attended-by-Aboriginal-people-in-WA-2005.pdf.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 1 March 2013, Last modified: 4 April 2022