Carol Petterson is a Justice of the Peace, cultural advisor wer Elder belonging to the Minung-Gnudju people of the Noongar Nation in the southwest of Western Australia. Petterson was born at Gnowangerup Mission wer is the daughter of Kathleen Gray wer the granddaughter of Johnny Knapp. Carol is also the Co-Founder Indigenous Children’s Hygiene Initiative.
In 2015, The City of Albany recognised the work wer dedication by Carol over decades in Albany by renaming the Albany Town Hall after her.
As a Justice of the Peace, Carol is involved with the Mubarn Maaman as an advocate for social justice on behalf of Noongar moort. She has authored several books to promote and preserve Noongar language and culture.
Carol’s passion is the reconstruction of an Indigenous interperative trail to honour the Gnudju women. These women walked from Esperance to Albany and back to supported their husbands who were taken from Esperance and jailed in Albany for breaching the WA Native Welfare act of 1905 (masters and servants act for insorbordination). The reconstruction of the trail will trace the footsteps of these brave women and breathe life into their traditional walk trail.
Carol’s other passion is ensuring that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren have the opportunity to embrace their language and culture through traditional experiences.
The City of Albany recognised the work and dedication of Carol Pettersen who has helped the moort over the decades by renaming the Albany Town Hall's Lesser Hall on Tuesday. Now named the Carol Pettersen Hall, it was changed in honour of the yorga who has deep roots in Albany. Mrs Pettersen is honoured by the renaming and hopes the hall will be used to educate people about Noongar culture.
Albany had been Carol's home for the past 57 years after finding herself homeless at the age of 17 and then being taken in by an Albany family. She is honoured to have the moort give something back to her.
Books and works
1. Yongka, miyak: kangaroo and moon Knowledge of the Noongar Minung-Gnudju people.
2. Koodjal-koodjal djookan : Four Sisters: the legend of the Southern Cross
This is the story of the southern cross star formation. Four sisters go to a sacred place and are chased away by men who attack them with spears. The women escape the spears by fleeing to the sky, where they become the Southern Cross. The book comes with an audio CD. 5 yrs +
3. Too White to Be Black, Too Black to Be White… lifestory
Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia
4. Indigenous Community Stories
The endeavours of traditional Noongar women who walked the Gnjdju trail from Esperance to Albany to be with their men who were incarcerated in the Albany Gaol in the 1890s. Carol Pettersen guides us through significant locations of her childhood and adulthood. Stories from Gnowangerup to Albany including Gnowangerup Mission, Hassell Homestead and Albany Gaol.
5. Carol Pettersen interviewed by John Bannister in the Australian generations oral history project.
6. A Dental Health Survey at Gnowangerup
7. Heath Work in Albany
8. Human Niche Construction: Noongar Evidence in Pre-colonial Southwestern Australia
- NAIDOC Elder of the Year