Black and white studio photograph of Leo Sterne in his military uniform, posing with a piano, taken in Linz, Austria, in 1919.

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

A studio portrait of a young Leo Sterne dressed in military uniform posing with a piano. His left arm rests on top of the piano, while his right hand rests on the keys. In the background stands a classical sculpture and drapery.

Physical Description

Black and white silver gelatin photograph on paper.


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

The L.J. Sterne Doll Company (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 the A.L. Lindsay & 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 Australian post-war historical and social themes including: local television and manufacturing industries; design and production innovations; marketing and merchandising; childhood; gender and cultural representation; leisure and sport; and key cultural and historical events.

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