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1918 - 1963

Barrow Point people, Ama Wuringu clan
1918, Barrow Point, QLD – 1963, Cooktown, QLD

Joe Alamanhthin Rootsey spent his early years working on numerous cattle stations before marrying and finally settling on ‘Olivevale’, near Laura, west of Cooktown. In 1954, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent two years at the Cairns Base Hospital. It was during this time that he began sketching, inspired by memories of his country around Cooktown and Barrow Point. After Rootsey’s works were exhibited at the Cairns Show, his talent was brought to the attention of the Department of Native Affairs. In 1958, he was invited by the department to attend the Central Technical College in Brisbane to undertake art training. Rootsey once again became ill with tuberculosis and died at Cooktown Hospital on 27 June 1963, aged 45.

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