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Howl for a black cockatoo / Gwen Harrison, Sue Anderson
Bib ID 6856465
Format BookBook [text, still image, volume]
Harrison, Gwen, 1947-, artist, printer
Description Sydney Impediment Press & Wand'Ring Bark, 2015 
28 unnumbered pages (some folded, some stub) : illustrations (some coloured) ; 54 x 31 cm in 55.5 x 32.2 x 2.7 cm clamshell box. 

In 1869 the notorious convict prison on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour was closed and turned into an industrial school for girls and a separate reformatory. It was renamed 'Biloela' in 1871 to counter the dark stain of 'Cockatoo,' but was nevertheless 'a queer place' for the hundreds of young orphaned and neglected girls (some of whom were sent there as babies) who were kept on this barren, windy and snake-infested crag of rock, in prison cells turned into dormitories. This artists' book explores the mad wonderland of their experiences, drawing on an 1873 inquiry which outlined their brutal, inhumane treatment, as well as nursery rhymes and text and images adapted Lewis Carroll and Sir John Tenniel's Alice in Wonderland. A contemporary coda links contemporary misogyny ('the sheilas are wrecking the joint') with the girl's rioting in response to their incarceration, and refers to the Royal Commission into the Institutional Response into Child Sexual Abuse established in 2014, which uncovered a similar harrowing pattern of deprivation and isolation a century later in the Parramatta Training School for Girls, where the Biloela girls were moved to in 1888.


Title and statement of responsibility from rear endpaper. A separate sheet with production information and acknowledgements (effectively a substitute colophon) is tipped onto the inside front cover of the clamshell box.

"A collaboration between Sue Anderson, letterpress printer and designer binder & Gwen Harrison, visual artist and printmaker. Original sugarlift and aquatint etchings on Magnani 'Revere' 100% cotton rag paper, Letterpress printing on a Potter Proof Press, handset Caslon lead type, various antique wood type."-Colophon.

Limited edition of 25 copies.

National Library's SR copy is no. 5/25 and signed by both artists.


Abstract leather binding in black kangaroo. Boards illustrated with a sugarlift etching on Magnani 'Revere'. Binding by Sue Anderson and Wayne Stock. Additional copies from the edition bound by Nellie Anderson. 

Subjects Girls' Industrial School and Reformatory (Cockatoo Island, N.S.W.)  |  Children -- Institutional care -- New South Wales -- History -- Pictorial works.  |  Child welfare -- New South Wales -- History.  |  Female juvenile delinquents -- New South Wales -- History.  |  Etching, Australian.  |  Prints, Australian.  |  Artists' books -- Australia.  |  Sydney (N.S.W.) -- Charities -- History.  |  Cockatoo Island (N.S.W.)
Other authors/contributors Anderson, Sue, 1948-, artist, binder, printer  |  Stock, Wayne, binder  |  Anderson, Nellie, binder
Exhibited Exhibited: Codex V, Craneway Pavilion, Richmond, California, 8-11 February 2015.  Exhibited: Small Publishers, an exhiblition of artist's books, Brenda May Gallery, 2 Danks Street, Waterloo NSW, 17 February to 14 March 2015.  Exhibited: Liberbook, Parma, Italy, 23-24 May 2015. 


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