Summary

Made by Miss Kelly, a schoolmistress in Melbourne, as an example of the kind of spinning toy she made and gambled with as a child.

Toodlembuck is a gambling game which used to be played with cherry stones (cherry 'bobs') in Australia before World War II. The game was popular around Melbourne Cup time, when the names of Cup horses would be written on the top of the disc and children would bet a certain number of cherry 'bobs on the winner. The cardboard disc is attached to the cotton reel, and when the string is pulled the disk spins around. There is usually a pointer to indicate the winning horse. The owner of the Toodlembuck calls out the odds, players place their bets and the disc is spun to find the winner. The game is also known in England. This object is a typical example of a toodlembuck, made from materials common to Australian households at the time (possibly mid 1950s).

The principle of the toodlembuck is seen in other games, such as the more complicated 'Prophet', described in Cassell's Book of Indoor Amusements, Card Games and Fireside Fun, made from a circle of 'pastebord' drawn into wedges and spun on a 'small wooden stand' with the figure of a prophet at the centre (5th edition, 1888, p.76).

This object forms part of the Dorothy Howard Collection, contained within the Australian Children's Folklore Collection. 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

Spinning toy, consisting of cardboard disc with ruled lines dividing the top into 8 segments, each with a horse's name; wooden skewer with a nail through it; black wooden cotton reel with two nails in the top and a length of white string tied around the middle. The string has a black button on the end. The cotton reel has remnants of the paper labels on top and bottom. The cardboard disc may have been an old exercise book cover, as it has a black coating on the underside. Acknowledgement: Australian Children's Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria.

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