Alternative Name(s): Knucklebones, Knuckleheads

Made by Moose Enterprises Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Australia, circa 1997, and donated by that company for display in the Springvale Historical Society's 'World of Games' exhibition, 1997. Susan Barnett, curator of the exhibition, passed the objects on to the Australian Children's Folklore Collection when the exhibition ended.

These are an example of contemporary Australian version of mass-produced plastic jacks, which came onto the market in the 1990s. Moose Enterprises produces children's traditional games which are redesigned and presented for the 1990s child market.

Jacks is an ancient game, dating back to prehistoric times. The first jacks were natural materials - animal bones, stones, seeds and shells, and when the game became a popular part of children's culture, manufacturers began mass-producing them from plastic and metal. In Australia, jacks are mostly shaped like sheep's knucklebones, but overseas there are also ceramic cubes and 'star'-shaped metal pieces. These stones are an example of the natural materials used by children to play jacks in the United States in the early 20th century.

Part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC). The ACFC is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's folklore across Australia and in other countries reaching back to the 1870s. The Collection has a strong component of research material relating to Victoria.

Physical Description

Six brightly-coloured contemporary jacks in original unopened packaging with instruction booklet and drawstring bag. Jacks are coloured orange pink, purple, blue, yellow and green. Each has a different face moulded and painted into it. Jacks are caricatures of the shape of knucklebones. Bag is pink & green striped with yellow plaited drawstring, and coloured image of Knuckle- heads on front. Same image is on front of instruction booklet and on front and back of cardboard backing sheet. There are speech bubbles printed on front of booklet and front & back of backing sheet. The name of each Knucklehead is also on front of sheet, with list of contents. Jacks are covered with plastic.

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