Alternative Name(s): Peg Top

Used: circa 1930

Donated by Gwen Day.

The Australian Children's Folklore Collection 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.
Top-spinning is an ancient activity. Tops dated at 1200-1400BC were excavated in Egypt, and they are often mentioned in classical literature. They are found throughout the world and used by adults and children, in rituals as well as for games of skill. There are many different kinds of tops, and the way they are used depends on their size and shape. In Australia this top is called a peg top, or what is sometimes referred to as a 'boy's' top because peg tops were mostly used by boys. Girls usually used whipping tops. The top is spun by winding string around the body, and holding the end of the string while the top is thrown downwards. The string is jerked to start the top spinning. Australian children no longer use peg tops as a playground game, except in the context of historical activities.

Physical Description

Small wooden peg top, with a metal point. The top is rounded, with a conical base. There are three rings made from shallow grooves around the body, and it has a shallow lip at the top. There are remnants of blue paint around the lip. The point is a thick screw with the head cut off and filed to a point. Acknowledgement: Australian Children's Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria.

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