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Australian Children's Folklore Collection

String Game

Image: String Game

Source: Museum Victoria

The Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC) is one of the largest and most significant archives of its kind in the world, reflecting Australia's cultural and regional diversity. It is the first Museum Victoria collection and one of the first collections in Australia to have been recognized through listing on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register. It documents children's verbal folkloric traditions from the 1870s to the present. It includes more than 10,000 card files and over 1,000 pages of letters recording children's games, rhymes, riddles, jokes, superstitions, taunts and chants; over 300 traditional and homemade play artefacts; photographs and audiovisual material; and field and research studies.

The ACFC germinated with research in the 1970s and 1980s by Dr June Factor (then an academic at the Institute of Early Childhood Development) and Dr Gwenda Davey. Armed with pad and pencil, tape recorder and camera, they conducted field research to document Australian children's play. As their research progressed they gradually acquired other material, both contemporary and historic. The Australian Children's Folklore Collection was formally established in 1979. Dr Factor was invited to join the founding members of the Australian Centre at The University of Melbourne in May 1989 as a Senior Research Fellow. She brought the Australian Children's Folklore Collection with her to the Centre, and agreed to have it housed for a period in the University of Melbourne Archives. In 1999 she donated the Collection to Museum Victoria.

A unique aspect of the ACFC is the Australian archive of pioneering American scholar, educator and ethnographer Dr Dorothy Howard. From 1954 to 1955, Howard travelled across Australia, collecting and documenting children's games and verbal lore in cities, country towns and small rural communities. It was the first large-scale attempt to collect, analyse and discuss our children's lore and language, and it laid the foundations for research into children's folklore in this country.

The Australian Children's Folklore Collection brings to Museum Victoria a direct and personal voice from children at play. 

Items per page: 10 50 (showing 101 - 150) 150 items

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    Marbles - Unglazed Clay & Stone

    Group of clay and stone marbles which forms part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC). The ACFC is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's folklore a ...

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  • Mud Switch - Aboriginal Children's Play Project, 1996 Object

    Mud Switch - Aboriginal Children's Play Project, 1996

    Alternative Name(s): Whip-stick Made and donated by Debbie Swindle, at the Corranderrk Koori Co-Op, Healesville, Vic. July 1996. Collected during the Aboriginal Children's Play Project ...

    Images: 2
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    Top - Wood, circa 1930

    Alternative Name(s): Peg Top Used: circa 1930 Donated by Gwen Day. The Australian Children's Folklore Collection is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's folklore ...

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    Doll - National, Cyprus

    Alternative Name(s): Doll - Traditional Cypriot Donated to the Australian Children's Folklore Collection by the High Commission of Cyprus in 1989. National doll which forms part of the ...

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    Scrapbook - Miss Jones, Bendigo, late 19th century

    Alternative Name(s): Scrap Book Green scrapbook with guarded pages (interleaving pages removed to allow for thickness of pasted items). Labelled 'For Miscellaneous Scraps'. Pages have ...

    Images: 0
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    Spinning Top - Wood, Guadalajara, Mexico, 1960s

    Alternative Name(s): Peg top Wooden spinning top, conical with a flat base. Bought in 1963 by Dr Dorothy Howard in a public market in Guadalajara, Mexico. The top is known in Mexico a ...

    From: Guadalajara, Mexico Images: 0
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    Doll - Nutcracker, Soldier, Wooden, circa 1990

    Alternative Name(s): Soldier Doll, Nutcracker, Nutcracker Toy Wooden nutcracker toy from the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) area of Germany. Used by children as toys as well as to crack nu ...

    Images: 0
  • Skipping Rope - Wood Handles With Red Detail Object

    Skipping Rope - Wood Handles With Red Detail

    Skipping rope wwhich forms part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC). The ACFC is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's folklore across Australia ...

    Images: 3
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    Doll - National, Cyprus

    Alternative Name(s): Doll - Traditional Cypriot Donated to the Australian Children's Folklore Collection by the High Commission of Cyprus in 1989. National doll which forms part of the ...

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  • Pogs - French, circa 1995 Object

    Pogs - French, circa 1995

    Alternative Name(s): Tazos Used: circa 1995 Purchased by Gwenda Davey at a New Orleans Flea Market (French Quarter), October, 1995. Donated by Gwenda Davey, 1996. This object is par ...

    Images: 2
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    Toy Bicycle - Ring-pull

    Made: 1988 Handmade in 1988 and donated to the Australian Children's Folklore Collection by Gwen Day. The Australian Children's Folklore Collection is unique in Australia, documenting c ...

    From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 0
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    Spinning Top - Dreidel, Wooden

    Simple wooden box containing top, which forms part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC). The ACFC is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's folklor ...

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    Seeds - Quandongs

    Used: circa 1955 Part of the Dorothy Howard Collection. This object forms part of the Dorothy Howard Collection, contained within the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC). T ...

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    Doll - National, Germany

    Alternative Name(s): Doll - German National Donated to the Australian Children's Folklore Collection by the Embassy of the German Democratic Republic in 1990. National doll which forms ...

    Images: 0
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    Toy Chain - Rubber Bands

    Made: 1982 Made by a Japanese girl in 1982. This object is part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection. The ACFC is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's fo ...

    Images: 0
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    Spinning Top - Finger, Wooden

    Simple wooden top which forms part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC). The ACFC is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's folklore across Austral ...

    Images: 0
  • Sheep - Household Materials Object

    Sheep - Household Materials

    Home-made sheep, made from everyday household materials - body is an orange kitchen sponge, head is a steel wool pad, eyes are two unused matches, legs are two white pegs, and tail is a ...

    Images: 3
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    Doll - National, Moldavia

    Alternative Name(s): Doll - Male Donated to the Australian Children's Folklore Collection by Sylvia Brover, Melbourne, 1985. National doll which forms part of the Australian Children's ...

    Images: 0
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    Toy Duck - Wood

    Donated to the Australian Children's Folklore Collection in 1990 by the Embassy of Czechoslovakia. The Australian Children's Folklore Collection in unique in Australia, documenting cont ...

    Images: 0
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    Spinning Top - Wooden

    Simple wooden top which forms part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC). The ACFC is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's folklore across Austral ...

    Images: 0
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    Skipping Rope - Leather, 1989

    Made: McKinty, Judy, 1989 Used: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1989 - 1990 Made by Judy McKinty, for the Children's Museum's 'You're IT!' exhibition, 1989. Leather pull-cord dona ...

    From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 0
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    Doll - National, Netherlands

    Alternative Name(s): Doll - Netherlands National Donated to the Australian Children's Folklore Collection by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in 1990. National doll which forms part of the ...

    Images: 0
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    Toy Pugilists - Wood

    Alternative Name(s): Boxing Toy Part of the Dorothy Howard Collection. This object forms part of the Dorothy Howard Collection, contained within the Australian Children's Folklore Colle ...

    From: Guadalajara, Mexico Images: 0
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    Yo-Yo - Wooden

    Blue and green wooden yo-yo which forms part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC). The ACFC is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's folklore acros ...

    Images: 0
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    Toy Windmill - Angel Wings

    Alternative Name(s): Whirligig Made: Alan Waters, delegate to the World Play Summit, Melbourne, 1993., 1992 Designed and donated by Alan Waters in 1992. Mr. Waters was a delegate to the ...

    From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 0
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    Doll - Samoa

    Alternative Name(s): Bark Doll Made: circa 1980 - 1983 This doll was bought in Apia, capital of Western Samoa in the early 1980s. The Australian Children's Folklore Collection is unique ...

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    Flag - Mexico, Miniature

    Alternative Name(s): Flag - Miniature This small Mexican flag forms part of the Dorothy Howard Collection, contained within the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC). The A ...

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    Toy Windmill - Dolphins

    Alternative Name(s): Whirligig Made: Alan Waters, delegate to the World Play Summit, Melbourne, 1993., 1992 Designed and donated by Alan Waters in 1992. Mr. Waters was a delegate to the ...

    From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 0
  • Flicker - White Plastic, Aboriginal Children's Play Project, 1997 Object

    Flicker - White Plastic, Aboriginal Children's Play Project, 1997

    Alternative Name(s): Flicker Collected for the Australian Children's Folklore Collection by Judy McKinty, Researcher, during the Aboriginal Children's Play Project. The flicker was don ...

    Images: 1
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    Toy Windmill - Paper

    Alternative Name(s): Whirligig Made: Alan Waters, delegate to the World Play Summit, Melbourne, 1993., 1992 Designed and donated by Alan Waters in 1992. Mr. Waters was a delegate to the ...

    From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 0
  • Football - Newspaper, mid 1980s Object

    Football - Newspaper, mid 1980s

    Paper football made from newspaper was constructed at Carlton North Primary School in the mid 1980s. Australian Rules football plays a central role in Australian and Victorian sporting ...

    From: Carlton North, Australia Images: 6
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    Toy Windmill - Paper

    Alternative Name(s): Whirligig Made: 1988 Made at the Children's Museum's 'You're IT!' exhibition, 1988. The Australian Children's Folklore Collection is unique in Australia, documentin ...

    From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 0
  • Fortune Teller - Paper, 1992 Object

    Fortune Teller - Paper, 1992

    This paper fortune teller, also known as a chatterbox, was folded by Scott Kenner, aged 8, Melbourne, 1992, and given to Judy McKinty. Donated by Judy McKinty, 1992. This object is par ...

    From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 3
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    Toy Windmill - Parrots

    Alternative Name(s): Whirligig Made: Alan Waters, delegate to the World Play Summit, Melbourne, 1993., 1992 Designed and donated by Alan Waters in 1992. Mr. Waters was a delegate to the ...

    From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 0
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    Game - Enid Blyton's Noddy Gummed Papercraft Kit, circa 1958

    Game played by the children of the donor in the 1970s. Box containing paper cut-outs which forms part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC). The ACFC is unique in A ...

    Images: 0
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    Game - Mouse & Cheese, circa 1990s

    Alternative Name(s): Threading Game Made: Blake, Mandy, circa - 1993 Made by Mandy Blake, and donated by the British delegate to the World Play Summit, Melbourne, 1993. Delegates were ...

    Images: 0
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    Game - Pick-Up Sticks

    Alternative Name(s): Fiddlesticks, Spillikins, Jack Straws Made: Moose Enterprise, circa - 1997 Obtained by Susan Barnett, curator of the 'World of Games' exhibition Springvale Histori ...

    Images: 0
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    Jacob's Ladder - Wood

    Alternative Name(s): Travakonta Made "with patience and love" by Nic Nilsson's father. Donated by Nic Nilsson, delegate to the World Play Summit, Melbourne, 1993. Delegates were asked t ...

    Images: 0
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    Jigsaw Puzzle - Kiwi, Wooden

    Alternative Name(s): Kiwi Puzzle Donated by Jane Webster, delegate to the World Play Summit, Melbourne, 1993. Delegates were asked to bring a traditional toy from their own country. Th ...

    Images: 0
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    Jumping Jack - Mertens Kunst, circa 1979-1993

    Alternative Name(s): Pantin Pull Toy Made: Mertens Kunst, circa 1979 - 1993 Donated by Pat Gardner and Jenny Jones from the Greenwich Toy Library who brought it to Melbourne for the ...

    Images: 0
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    Kite - Korean

    Used: circa 1989 Donated by the Embassy of the Republic of South Korea, 1989. The Australian Children's Folklore Collection is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's f ...

    Images: 0
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    Kite - Korean

    Used: circa 1989 Donated by the Embassy of the Republic of South Korea, 1989. The Australian Children's Folklore Collection is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's f ...

    Images: 0
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    Kite Reel - Wood

    Used: circa 1989 Donated by the Embassy of the Republic of South Korea, 1989. The Australian Children's Folklore Collection is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's f ...

    Images: 0
  • Knucklebones - Sheep Object

    Knucklebones - Sheep

    Alternative Name(s): Jacks Knucklebones, or Jacks, is an ancient game, dating back to prehistoric times. The first jacks were natural materials - animal bones, stones, seeds and shells ...

    Images: 2
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    Jacks - Metal

    Alternative Name(s): American Jacks Set of six metal jacks with a small rubber ball, made in Taiwan. This is a typical form of jacks in the United States and the United Kingdom. Jack ...

    Images: 0
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    Jacks - Chemtoy Corporation, Metal

    Alternative Name(s): American Jacks, Jax Fifteen metal jacks in a green plastic carrying case. Each jack has six spikes, four of which have rounded ends like little balls. Jacks is a ...

    From: Chicago, United States Images: 0
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    Jacks - Metal, circa 1981

    Alternative Name(s): American Jacks Seven metal jacks with a small rubber ball (or taw), purchased in 1981. This is a typical form of jacks in the United States and the United Kingdom. ...

    Images: 0
  • Spinning Top - Green, 'Latoo', Indian Object

    Spinning Top - Green, 'Latoo', Indian

    Green wooden top, or 'latoo', made in India, where the donor, Robert Hart, was raised. Tops like this could be bought in the market from a wood turner. The harder the wood was, the bett ...

    Images: 3
  • Knucklebones - Sheep, circa 1955 Object

    Knucklebones - Sheep, circa 1955

    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. Knucklebone ...

    From: Perth, Australia Images: 1
  • Jack Stones - Texas, USA, circa 1905-1910 Object

    Jack Stones - Texas, USA, circa 1905-1910

    Alternative Name(s): Jacks, Jackstones Set of five jack stones, naturally-formed. Used in Texas, United States America, circa 1905-1910, and collected by American folklorist Dr Dorothy ...

    Images: 1
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