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26 June 2021 to 14 February 2022 | Gandel Atrium

There are several hundred toys or children’s objects in the National Historical Collection. A smaller selection of these items are on display in Play, with each item chosen for its compelling history and strong association with a particular child.

Children will always find a way to play, whatever their circumstances. Playing games, making and sharing toys, and telling stories is how they learn about the world around them.

Toy tractor

A toy tractor made from old banana boxes, scrap metal and a piece of string shows the childhood ingenuity of a young boy living in Australia during the Second World War.

Toy pig

A much-loved toy pig with a missing tail connects the United States to Australia in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Toy theatre

The Everitt and George Family collection consists of a beautiful and vibrant toy theatre.

Toy rocking horse

This toy rocking horse belonged to Andrew Gibson, who grew up at Burrungurroolong station near Goulburn, New South Wales, during the 1920s and 30s.

Toy horse Jackson

‘Jackson’, owned by Jo Fort, was one of the contestants in the ‘Birdsville Cup’, a  mock horse race run down the main road outside the Birdsville Hotel.

Hetherington doll's house

Eva Howie made this doll’s house in the 1930s for her eldest daughter, Barbara Hetherington. The house is furnished with many tiny items, some of them handcrafted from bread dough.

Fun at home activities

Check out our free instructions and videos on crafting your own creations.

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