Where is it from?

Association locations map

Similar items over time

Knucklebones - Sheep, circa 1955 Object Reg. No: SH 990055

Alternative Name(s): Jacks

Six sheeps' knucklebones, dyed to different colours. Given to Dorothy Howard by a twelve-year-old boy in Perth, Western Australia, around 1955.

Knucklebones, or Jacks, is an ancient game, dating back to prehistoric times. The first jacks were natural materials - animal bones, stones, seeds and shells. Sheep's knucklebones were the most common type of jacks in Australia during the first half of this century, and children would colour them by boiling them in water with ink or dye. During the 1950s, mass-produced plastic knucklebones became available. These objects are examples of the very earliest type of mass-produced plastic replica knucklebones used by Australian children to play the game of Jacks. The size, shape and weight of real sheeps' knucklebones were replicated, in contrast to later versions which are much smaller and lighter.

This object forms part of the Dorothy Howard Collection, contained within the ACF Collection. The ACF Collection is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's folklore across Australia and in other countries reaching back to the 1870s. The Collection has a strong component of research material relating to Victoria. See Supp File 99.01.
Six sheeps' knucklebones in natural state. Five approximately the same size, one slightly larger. The large jack has a hole drilled through the centre. Two of the bones are weathered and discoloured.
Acquisition Information:
Cultural Gifts Donation from Dr June Factor, 1999
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
Discipline: History

More information

Tagged with: children s folklore, children s play, farm animals, food technology, games, livestock, sheep, making history - australian childrens folklore
Themes this item is part of: Australian Children's Folklore Collection, Childhood & Youth Collection, Domestic & Community Life Collection, Leisure Collection, Sustainable Futures Collection, Dr Dorothy Gray Mills Howard (1902-1996)
Primary Classification: GAMES & TOYS
Secondary Classification: Action Games
Tertiary Classification: hand
Date Used: Perth, Western Australia, Australia, circa 1955

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.

Similar items

Yes No