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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. There are several hundred toys or children’s objects in the National Historical Collection.

A selection of these toys were on show in the Play display at the National Museum of Australia from 26 June 2021 to 14 February 2022. Each object was chosen for its strong association with an individual child.

Toy tractor

A handmade tractor shows the ingenuity of a young Australian boy 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 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 in country NSW in the 1920s and 30s.

Toy horse Jackson

‘Jackson’, owned by Jo Fort, was one of the contestants in the mock ‘Birdsville Cup’.

Hetherington doll's house

Eva Howie made this doll’s house and furnishings in the 1930s for her eldest daughter, Barbara.

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