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William Boyd Childhood Collection

Locomotive - Royal Scot

Image: Locomotive - Royal Scot

Source: Museum Victoria

The William Boyd Childhood Collection includes most of the childhood possessions of William (Bill) Boyd.

Most of us have a few treasured mementoes from our childhood, but Bill Boyd had over 700 of them. His mother Lillian carefully preserved mementoes of his childhood in Maryborough, in central Victoria, in the late 1940s and 1950s. Bill suffered ill-health as a child, and his long hours in bed encouraged him to also become a collector.

The collection was passed onto Bill after his mother's death. He eventually donated it to the Museum of Childhood at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. When the Museum of Childhood closed it was transferred to Museum Victoria.

Encompassing toys, books, clothing and other items, the William Boyd Childhood Collection is rare in its comprehensiveness: even ephemera such as the back of a Cornflakes box is included. The Collection demonstrates a range of prominent themes in the lives of postwar Victorian children, such as the ability to 'make do' under austere circumstances; the shift in toy manufacture towards plastic materials and mass production; the continuing cultural influence of Britain; the increasing embrace of American popular culture; the prominence of gender roles; and the popularity of transport and war themed toys for boys.

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