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Doll - Vinyl Face & Cloth Body, circa 1963 Object Reg. No: HT 8275

Doll purchased in Melbourne in 1963 as a gift for Maria by a relative. Maria was hospitalized, at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, for three weeks with a broken arm at age seven.

She had immigrated to Australia with her mother and two brothers in 1961, to join her father who was already in Melbourne working. In 1967 Maria, her mother and two brothers, returned to Italy with the aim of remaining. Prior to the journey Maria's mother removed the stuffing from the doll and replaced it with various Australian plant seeds to give to relatives in Italy.

After 11 months in Italy, Maria's mother decided to return to Australia with her children as she didn't see a strong future them in Italy. Once again Maria's mother stuffed the doll with seeds, this time Italian vegetable seeds, in particular different types of beans, tomatoes, lettuces and other beneficial greens. She recalls it was so full of seeds that it was no longer soft, and her mother instructing her never to put the doll down and to always have it clutched when they arrived in Melbourne.

After this voyage the doll's head continuously fell off and Maria used to say to her mother that the doll 'had a headache' and her mother would sew the head back on.
Doll with vinyl face and hands with cloth bunny suit body and synthetic hair. Eyes open and close. Label indicates the doll was 'Made in Japan'.
Statement Of Significance:
This doll is a rare example of how immigrants flouted Australia's strict quarantine laws in order to bring in 'something from home'. While the doll is was a smuggling tool; it is also a child's toy which represents stories of the ongoing processes of migration, and children's experiences of that upheaval, movement and resettlement.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Ms. Maria Tence, 2005
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 110 mm (Height), 290 mm (Width), 420 mm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: dolls, toys, italian communities, italian immigration, immigration, immigrant voyages, immigrant shipping, seeds
Themes this item is part of: Maria Tence, Italian Migrant, 1961
Primary Classification: Migration
Secondary Classification: Processing - Customs & Quarantine
Tertiary Classification: smuggled goods
Inscriptions: Cotton label under right arm: MADE IN JAPAN
Place & Date Made: Japan, circa 1963
User: Ms. Maria Tence, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1963-1967
User: Ms. Maria Tence, Italy, 1967-1968
User: Ms. Maria Tence, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1968-1980

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