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National Museum of Australia

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Doll with red hair dressed in sailors uniform

2013.0038.0031.001

Doll with red hair dressed in sailors uniform

Object information

Physical description

A 'smiling' sailor doll. The doll is in navy blue sailor's uniform. It has a moulded velvet face and a padded velvet body. It also has a flat ears, glass eyes with white pupils and red hair. The painted facial features include black eye brows; lashes and a red mouth with teeth showing. The doll has a squat moulded nose with flat bridge and painted red nostrils. The arms have stitched unseparated fingers and separated thumb and the feet have stitched unseparated toes. It has removable discoloured cream sailor hat with a blue trim and some text written on it reads 'R. M. S. OCEAN'.

Statement of significance

The Susan and Andrew Gibson collection comprises over 60 dolls; about 25 soft toys; dolls' clothes and accessories; a dolls' house; a toy piano; a miniature (once functioning) sewing machine; a Noah's Ark set; a tin fort; many sets of miniature figures and accessories including zoo, garden, farm, soldiers, huntsmen, Zulus, and cowboys & Indians; metal and wooden boats and planes; several sets of alphabet blocks; dress-up costumes; dominoes, marbles, Meccano and magnets; wheeled toys; a large rocking horse; a dolls' pram; toys for outdoor play; a toy box, and a rug to play on. Most of the toys show evidence of extensive use but some, including some of the dolls, are in fine condition.

Most of the collection relates to a decade of use from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s, well into the era of the industrial mass production and globalisation of toys and toy brands which had begun in the late nineteenth century, but before the postwar merchandising of toys based on film and television productions. Many of the toys may have been locally produced but British and European brands are also strongly represented. The toys were played with by a single generation of children, Susan and Andrew Gibson, of 'Burrungurroolong', near Goulburn in NSW. The collection has been preserved largely intact by the family, and therefore offers a rich insight into childhood and the nature of play in that era.

Object information

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