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What is this? Knucklebones - video transcript

The opening of the video shows a rainbow stripes moving across the screen from left to right. A cloud shape pops into the coloured stripes containing an image of a set of white and green game pieces or knucklebones. The video title 'What Is This' is superimposed on the knucklebones. A question mark bounces into position at the end of the text ('What Is This ?') and an eyeball rolls around in the dot forming the bottom of the question mark and winks. Upbeat music plays in the background. A swarm of question marks moves across and fills the frame.

This dissolves to a close up of a tin box with an open lid. In the box is a collection of small green and white objects.

TEDDY: (voice over, out of shot) Wotcha got there, Angela?

(Angela the presenter is standing behind a desk. The tin box is in front of her and she holds some of the objects in her hands. To the left of Angela is Teddy, a puppet, also behind the desk. Angela turns to Teddy.)

ANGELA: I found this little box with some kind of bones in it. (Angela shows Teddy the bones.) What do you think, Teddy?

TEDDY: Hmmm. They're very small bones, aren't they? Kind of chunky ... about the size of Minties.

ANGELA: They look pretty old too, don't they?

TEDDY: Yeah, but I have no idea what you'd use them for.

(Angela and Teddy are behind the desk. An animated television screen is above Teddy on the right of the frame. A question mark rotates slowly in the screen. Chrissie, an older woman joins Teddy and Angela behind the desk.)

CHRISSIE: I think I might be able to answer some of your questions about those bones.

ANGELA: Hi, Chrissie.

CHRISSIE: Hello, Angela. Hi, Teddy. Hello, everybody.

TEDDY: So, Chrissie. What's the story with the bones?

(Close up of Chrissie reaching into box to pick up some of the bones.)

TEDDY (spookily): Are they human bones?

CHRISSIE: No. They're the knucklebones from sheep. And when I was a little girl we used to play a game with them.

(Close up of Chrissie moving the bones around in her hand. The bones make a clinking sound as they hit each other.)

TEDDY: I bet the sheep weren't too happy about you nicking their knuckles.

CHRISSIE: (laughs) It's alright. We got the bones from the butcher.

(Chrissie, Angela and Teddy stand behind the table. The television screen shows a young girl, Yolande, sitting on the ground playing with the bones.)

CHRISSIE: Let's have a look at Yolande playing with the bones.

(Yolande throws the knucklebones into the air.)

CHRISSIE: It's a game all about throwing and catching and counting.

(Chrissie and Angela are both holding knucklebones in their hands.)

ANGELA: The game is called 'jacks'.

(A close-up of Yolande picking up the bones, she throws them up in air.)

CHRISSIE: (voice over) There are lots of steps to playing 'jacks'. You can play on your own, like Yolande, or you can compete with your friends.

TEDDY: (voice over) Phwooar! Sometimes Yolande's throwing the knucklebones up in the air, turning her hand over and catching them on the back of her hand. And then she throws them up, flips her hand and catches them in her palm.

TEDDY: That looks pretty tricky, Chrissie.

CHRISSIE: Yes, Teddy. But like most games, the more you play, the better you get.

ANGELA: It looks like a lot of fun, Chrissie. What other games did you play when you were little?

TEDDY: Did you play 'jacks' on your Nintendo?

ANGELA: They didn't have Nintendo when Chrissie was a little girl, Teddy.

CHRISSIE: No, my word. A lot of the toys you have today didn't exist when I was a little girl. We didn't have computers or video games. Lots of the games we played happened outside and used things we could find – like the knucklebones.

ANGELA: Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today, Chrissie, but sadly we have to go now. Maybe you could tell us about some of the things that are the same today as they were in the past.

CHRISSIE: Bye.

TEDDY AND ANGELA: Bye-bye.

(Chrissie turns and starts talking to Angela and Teddy. Title music fades in.)

CHRISSIE: Do you both like playing card games?

TEDDY: I always win at Snap.

ANGELA: Only because you cheat.

TEDDY: You can't cheat at Snap.

Upbeat music. An animation of rainbow stripes moving across the screen from left to right. A cloud shape pops into the coloured stripes containing an image of the knucklebones. The video title 'What Is This?' is superimposed on the knucklebones. This dissolves to National Museum of Australia logo.



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The curriculum links in this resource are drawn from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Australian Curriculum: History website.