Ken Wadrop – Returning; 370+ views of Rottnest

Ken Wadrop’s first experience of Rottnest was in the 1970s when he arrived to take up a job working for the Rottnest Island Board. Ken lived and worked on Rottnest for 8 months and apart from casual references to the lodge having been a prison 100 years ago, heard no other mention of its history. He left the Island to go to art school, returning each summer for three years to work. In 2015 Patsy Vizents, Heritage Officer with Rottnest Island Authority invited Ken to interpret the Garden Lake site before development altered the foreshore. He agreed to undertake a series of paintings. Regular visits to the island and conversations with Patsy increased an awareness of the history and significance of the Island to Aboriginal people. “This was when I became fully aware of the truth about the history of the prison on Rottnest and that 370+ men and boys were buried there. If I was to continue to paint Rottnest, then I felt compelled to paint 371 views as my way of acknowledging the past and bearing witness to what happened in this sad but beautiful place”. Ken is grateful to Patsy and the Rottnest Island Authority for their support.