Bilha Cooper-Smith

This page lists the personal papers collection of Bilha Cooper-Smith. 

This table is a guide to the manuscripts of Cooper-Smith.

MS File contents  Folder numberFile nameDetailed contents
Box 1
Photographs1Kununurra 1984 Colour photographs 1-5 of Kununurra batik workshop. Described by donor on album sleeves as 1984 and 1985.
 Photographs2Kununurra Women's Centre 1984Colour photographs 1-17 of Kununurra Women's Centre batik workshop. Note: Two images are  different sizes but ostensibly from same collection.
 Photographs3Kalumbaru 1984Colour photographs 1-3 of Kalumbaru batik workshop, 1984.
 Photographs4Batik workshops - various locationsAlbum of colour and b/w photographs from various batik workshops including: Leanyar Primary School August 1987 (photos 1-7); unknown location (photos 8-10); unknown location (photos 11-13); Katherine Weekend Workshop 1987 (photos 14-19); Karama Primary School 1986 (photos 20-22); unknown b/w (photos 23-35); Migrant Resource Centre Holiday Program, January 1990 (photos 36-43); Karama Primary School (photos 44-54); Nanci (photo 55); Balgo 1986 (photo 56).
Written on back of photo 55: 'Nanci small w/s at home for the group from Aboriginal Resource Centre Darwin, 1986'.
 Photographs5Balgo 1986Colour Photographs 1-34 Balgo Community batik workshop.
 Magazine6Textile Fibre Forum' Volume 6, Issue 3, No. 20, 1987. Includes an article by Bilha Smith 'Aboriginal Dyes' in which she discusses the use of two traditional dyes for batik work on silk fabric. pp5-6.
 Report7Balgo Batik Workshop  1987  Report: 'Batik Workshop Held at Balgo Mission, WA' by Bilha Smith, October 1987. The Report is a brief journal of Bilha's trip to Balgo, her reflections on the workshop and  community activities. It includes a single page headed 'Batik' which describes the process of batik dyeing.
/ Photographs
8Wadeye Workshop 1989-90Letter: Peter Thompson, Adult Educator, Wadeye to Bilha Smith, 25 October 1989, enquiring about a batik workshop.
Letter: Peter Thompson, Adult Educator, Wadeye to Bilha Smith, 3 May 1990.
Fax: Bilha Smith to Mark Liston.
Letter: Peter Thompson, Adult Educator, Wadeye to Bilha Smith, 20 November 1989, re batik workshop and enclosing seven  photographs of Aboriginal women at Port Keats showing their traditional string making, weaving and dyeing (photos:1-7).
Letter: Peter Thompson, Adult Educator, Wadeye to Bilha Smith, 22 October 1990, thanking her for the batik workshop and enclosing six photographs from the workshop taken by Peter (photos: 8-13). Photographs of Port Keats Batik Workshop - includes women collecting pandanus for string making, 1990 (photos: 14-38).
One laminated photograph: Cyntia and Bilha Port Keats, 2001. 
 Photographs9Port Keats - Black Point 1993 

Colour Photographs 1- 46 Port Keats workshop March 1993; Colour Photographs 47-72 Black Point workshop May 1993.

Photo 20: 'Janett - Batik'. Photo 47: 'Haidie, Janett, Rosie'. Photo 48: 'Janett'. Photo 49: 'Rosie, Roxen, Janett, Moreen, Haidie'. Photo 50: 'Janett'. Photo 51: 'Lorna (lino cut)'. Photo 52: 'Lorna Leeanne'. Photo 53: 'Leeanne Lino cut'. Photo 54: 'Janett (lino cut)'. Photo 55: 'Janett (lino cut)'. Photo 56: 'Stuart with the bag his mother made'. Photo 57: 'Haidie'. Photo 58: 'Janett's material (lino cut). Photo 59: 'Lorna (lino cut)'. Photo 60: 'Marita's Greenant'. Photo 61: Moreen. Photo 62: 'Roxen & Haidie Batik'. Photo 63: 'Haidie and Francin'. Photo 64: 'Leeanne and her Tie dye'. Photo 65: 'Moreen (tie dye)'. Photo 66: 'Roxen (lino cut). Photo 67: 'Roxen with the finished bag'. Photo 68: Roxan with her lino cut bag'. Photo 69: 'Moreen'. Photo 70: 'Leeanne's lino cut material'. Photo 71: 'Leeanne with the final product a dress'. Photo 72: 'Hailie's Batik'. 

 Photographs10Port Keats 1993 Colour Photographs 1-21 of Port Keats workshop, 1993.
 Photographs11Maningrida 1994 Colour Photographs 1-99 of Maningrida workshop 31 January 1994 - 4 February 1994.
Photo 1: 'Petalostigma pubescens'. Photo 2: 'Beti and the bush'. Photo 3: 'Picking leaves from: Coelosperum reticulatum'. Photo 4-5 'Digging for the yellow root of Coelosperum'. Photo 6: 'Digging for the Red - Haimodoron coccimeum'. Photo 7: Leaves from Petalostigma & Coelosperum. The roots and bulbs'. Photo 8: 'Washing roots and bulbs. Photos 9-16: 'cleaning and preparing the red bulbs'. Photos 17-23: 'preparation of the yellow root'. Photos 24-30 'tieing material for dying cotton, calico and lawn'. Photos 31-35: 'cooking the material in their bucks[?] of dye'. Photo 36: 'The two Helens in the cooking ground'. Photo 37-38 'preparing the Ironwood bark ash to add to the yellow root'. Photo 39: 'Washing - rinsing material after cooking in yellow. Photo 40-43: 'colours of the red bulbs in - silk - lawn - calico. Photo 44: 'The various shades of colour from yellow root & bulbs on silk'. Photos 45-46:'yellow - ochre shades on calico'. Photo 47: 'overall view of colours from root & bulbs on calico & lawn'. Photo 48-49: 'The grounds of woman centre Maningrida where the women worked'. Photo 50: 'Bilha with the help of little friend, hanging the mordant[?] material to dry before the dying'.
(1): 'The quinine bush tree, 'Ruba' in native language'. (3): 'in native language "Mangura-jugumu"'. (4): 'in native language "Nalpur" in Barada'.
NB: These images were organised in a two-columned album (31cmx16.5cm) with fifty sleeves in each column.
Plant names are spelt as written by donor.
 Photographs12KalumburuColour Photographs 1-25 of Kalumburu workshop, nd. Photo 1 - Bilha teaching Tie-Dye and Batik in Kalumburu.
 Slides13Nungalinya (?) 1996 Natural Dyes. Colour Slides 1-13
 Photographs14Port Keats 2000, School 2002 Colour  Photographs 1-54 of Port Keats workshop.
 Photographs15Port Keats OLESH School Year 6-7, 2002Colour Photographs 1-43 of Port Keats workshop.
 Documents16Miscellaneous Documents/Correspondence1.  'Pepirmanati [sic] Country', 13 May 2002. Notes pgs 1-2.
2. Quotation. Health Life through creative art process w/s. Hand written and typed version. Pgs 1-3.
3. Quotation. Pgs 1-3
4. Letter: Bilha Smith to Evan Costello, nd. Pgs 1-3.
5. Naphthol Colour chart (four copies).
6. Six samples of dyed fabric.
7. 'Mixing Naphthol for 2 litre'; 'Mixing Naphthol for 4 litre' instructions. Pgs 1-2.
8. 'The Method, Plan and Process of Batik, Tie-Dye, Printing and Clay workshops in Aboriginal communities, across the Northern Territory, Kimberley and Sandy dessert'. 1 page.
9. Bilha Cooper-Smith Curriculum Vitae. Pgs 1-5.
10. Facsimile. Bilha Smith to Kathleen Elliot, Nguiu Bathurst Island, 5 October 1993. 1 page plus copy.
11. Correspondence from Mark Linkson to Committee Murrinh-patha Club, 23 February 1993 re Batik workshop Port Keats. Pages 1-3. Attached to this correspondence is a handwritten 'list of tools and materials to bring to the community'.

Last updated: 28 November 2017