Hand-drawn illustration of numbers in the form of pictures and figures, glued to Maggi advertisement. Drawn by Bill Boyd when he was a young boy in the 1950s. His mother, who helped him learn his numbers, has annotated the drawing. Bill was ill for some time as a child, and his mother was supportive of his education and developing interests.

The William Boyd Childhood Collection includes most of the childhood possessions of William (Bill) Boyd, who was born in 1947 and raised in the Victorian town of Maryborough. Kept by Lillian Boyd (Bill's mother) all her life, and preserved by Bill after her death.

Physical Description

Ink drawing of number pictures and figures on thin white paper, glued to a slightly stiff full-colour advertisement for Maggi products. Numbers one to five are depicted, each first in a domino form with dots, then a number, then a drawing. The number one is represented by a person and a kite; two by cars; three by chairs; four by cats; and five by rabbits. An adult's hand-writing appears above and below the numbers. The edges of the paper are very wrinkled, suggesting that it was starting to deteriorate before it was glued to its backing. The back of the drawing is a full-colour Maggi stock cube advertisement, featuring an illustration of an open packet with cubes around, extensive text and a small image of a man's head and cup explaining that it makes 'a fine beverage too!'.


The drawing is a rare surviving example of ephemera generated by home education in the 1950s. Scraps of paper used for practicing letters and numbers, home-made chalk boards and oral teaching meant that scant physical evidence of home education has survived.

Parents often played a vital role in educating their children before and during their school years. The donor - who did the drawing - was unwell as a child, and his mother supported his education and developing interests. Of additional importance is the broader context for the drawing, within an extensive collection documenting the childhood of a boy who grew up in Maryborough, central Victoria, in the 1950s.

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