Black and white photograph of Hilda and Leo Sterne at the Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy, circa 1928.

This photograph relates to the lives of Leo and Hilda Sterne prior to their migration to Australia from Linz, Austria in 1939, joining other family members who had arrived in 1938. The Sternes (originally Sternschein), listed as 'stateless', were probably refugees accepted as part of the Australian Government's Jewish quota intake just prior to World War II. The Sterne's went on to found the successful L.J. Sterne Doll Company. Leo Sterne is recorded as having enlisted in the Citizen's Military Forces during World War II and in 1944 he was naturalised.

Description of Content

Hilda and Leo Sterne in the Piazza San Marco. The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark (commonly known as Saint Mark's Basilica) is in the back ground, and the pair, dressed in coats and hats, are surrounded by pigeons.

Physical Description

Black and while photograph on paper.


This item is part of a growing collection of material relating to the migration and settlement experiences of Leo and Hilda Sterne who arrived in 1939. They immediately established a business that became one of the most successful doll and toy manufacturers in post-war Melbourne.

The L J Sterne Doll Company collection (1939-71) is significant as one of the few surviving collections related to an Australian toy and doll manufacturer, a once thriving industry in Australia. Only at the A. L Lindsay and Co. Archive at the Powerhouse Museum and the Jakas Toys Collection at Museum Victoria are comparable.

This collection of photographs, business and promotional documents, dolls, and toys enables the exploration of many historical and social themes including: local television and manufacturing industries; design and production innovation; marketing and merchandising; childhood; gender and cultural representations; leisure and sport; and key cultural and historical events.

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