Summary

Small toy dog, made from a thin checked brown woollen material with lighter brown and bone pattern. Used in Kew, Victoria, circa 1942 - 1952.

The toy was made for the donor, Peter Roberts, who was born 14 November 1942. His family lived at 11 Childers Street, Kew. He describes his family as 'lower middle class'; they were never well off. The toy is made of recycled materials, and is similiar to many made during World War II, when new toys were virtually unobtainable. The fabric may have been recycled from an old skirt - it is too thin to have been a blanket.

Physical Description

Small toy dog, made from a thin checked brown woollen material with lighter brown and bone pattern. Pink felt eyes with yellow centres; green felt ears and tail, and a yellow felt collar around its neck (broken at throat). There is no gusset between legs; mid-seam on back and under belly: gusseted head. The mouth is sewn with a small pink felt tongue protruding.

Significance

World War II changed life for everyone - including children. While fathers were away fighting 'Mr Hitler', many mothers worked long hours in offices and factories. Food and clothing were rationed, and children helped grow vegetables in backyard 'victory gardens'. After Japan entered the war in 1942 and invasion threatened, the fear of bombing hung in the air. Some city children were evacuated to rural areas. Many families built air-raid shelters in suburban backyards. Trenches were dug across school playgrounds, and air-raid drills were held. Yet wartime could be exciting, too. Military marches through the city streets, fireside games of strategy and battleships, and heroic tales of soldiers in far-off lands - all lit the imagination of many a Melbourne child. But reality hit hard for those children whose loved ones did not come home. (Melbourne Story label, 2008)

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