Just the other day I read a blog post entitled “The Last Doll Museum in Paris is Cleaning Out its Closet (and here’s why you should care.)
The story is about the Musée de la Poupée; a private doll museum in Paris. I’ve never visited this museum because obviously I live too far away but it started me thinking about other doll museums I have visited or wanted to visit and if any of them are still around. Of course many museums have sections on childhood that feature dolls and toys but I went googling for museums specifically for dolls and here is what I found.
Doll Museums in Australia
One that I visited after it first opened in 1999 is “River Dolls” in Goolwa, South Australia. I haven’t been to Goolwa in years but I was happy to find when I googled it that the place is still there. River Dolls is also a shop selling dolls, bears, toys and sweets which may be how the collection has managed to survive. Goolwa is something of a tourist destination located at the mouth of the Murray River and there are other attractions like houseboats, steam engines and another museum. I will have to try to pay a visit to Goolwa again one day. David and I sometimes used to drive there when we lived in South Australia.
Another doll museum I visited was in South Australia’s “Cornish Triangle” where we often used to go on steam train trips. I can’t recall now which town the museum was in Wallaroo, Moonta or Kadina. It may have been part of the Kadina Heritage Museum. I’m a fan of regional museums and social history and I will often visit them to learn a bit about the places I am visiting. Anyway I remember a room full of dolls in display cases. They looked a bit unloved and some had fallen over. I really wanted to get in there and tidy them up.
Then I searched for doll museums in Victoria. There used to be two in Ballarat. I don’t recall that I visited either but I think Naomi did. Golda’s World of Dolls on Eureka Street is recorded as being permanently closed and according to some collectors on the Facebook doll sites I follow it has been gone for a very long time.
I did find one I had not heard about. “Bev’s Wonder World of Dolls” in Morwell in the Gippsland area. That one is going on the list to visit next time Naomi and I do a road trip in Victoria.
New South Wales
In New South Wales a search came up with the Gerogery Doll Museum. I had to look this up, it is a small town just off the Hume Highway, the main route between Melbourne and Sydney. The Visit NSW website had a page about it with a picture. It said that there were over 1600 antique and modern dolls, plus teddies and a Micky Mouse collection. This place sounds worth a visit despite the Google review which said.
Nice place to have a break and stretch your legs, owner’s are lovely, and the creepy dolls are a bonus
As a doll lover I object to the word creepy. I do find it odd that so many people find dolls creepy. There is even a word for it Pediophobia.
Also in New South Wales my search turned up “Little Darlings” a doll museum and coffee shop in a town called Darawank which is almost half way between Newcastle and Port Macquarie. It too had a Google review which did not reveal much about what there is to see apart from Elvis!
Fun for the whole family amazing collection of Elvis and dolls! Afternoon tea in the garden as Superb a good day trip! Highly recommended from a family in Sydney!!
Further research turned up a Facebook page where I discovered that there are over 5,000 dolls and bears on display and a doll repair service is available as well as light lunches and teas in the cafe.
A place we have visited is the Toy and Railway Museum in Leura in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. This is in an old house and has railway memorabilia and model trains outside and dolls and toys inside. I looked through my photos of this holiday and although I have pictures of the building and the railways I don’t have any of the dolls and toys. Either we were not allowed to take photos or it was too dark inside without a flash. Here is a photo of the museum.
One of the things I have noticed that many of these museums have in common is that they are private collections and that the owners are mostly older collectors. The reviews that I found were mostly one or two years old so I can’t say if any of the museums are still open. I may contact the owners and see if they are so I can report back.
As this post has become rather long I’ll continue my research and list museums in the other Australian states in another post.