River Dolls

A Doll Museum in Goolwa South Australia

While I was on holidays in Adelaide South Australia to visit family recently I was lucky enough to visit River Dolls in Goolwa. Goolwa for those who don’t know is on the River Murray and is a very pretty town and well worth a visit if you are ever on holiday in Australia. The main street still has many of its interesting historic old buildings. I found a lovely bakery and we had our lunch there. There were many other nice places where you could get a meal but we loved this old bakery. After lunch, we had a nice walk in the wharf area where I took a few snapshots. On weekends you can take a ride on the famous Oscar W. You will need to book this in advance to avoid disappointment as it sells out fast. Check out the links at the end of this post for Goolwa and South Australia for more information. Now on with the doll museum.

Now, this museum will not disappoint if you love dolls as much as Vanda and I do. There is a huge collection featuring all kinds of vintage and modern dolls. I could have spent hours in that place. There is something for everyone and even my friend Phillip enjoyed our visit. He took quite an interest in the action figures and the cars on display. There are also dolls for sale for those who may wish to add to their own collections. In the front of the shop, there is a sweet shop to help support the running of the museum. As we all know it’s very costly trying to run any kind of museum this day and age. As Vanda has pointed out in previous posts many such places have closed down due to costs or lack of interest. The entry charge was only $5.00AU and we thought this very reasonable for what we saw in the big display. You will see all sorts of Barbie, Sindy, Tammy, and other well-loved fashion dolls, beautiful old baby and walking dolls, costume dolls, action figures, soft toys, and many other surprises. I have scanned the paper brochure and added my own photographs in a slideshow to help showcase what is on display in this terrific museum. Here are the front and back of the brochure

River Dolls brochure front and back pages
River Dolls brochure inside pages

My photos can better describe what is in the museum so I will now add them to this post. I will just say again the museum is well worth a visit and is very easy to find as it is on the main street in Goolwa and parking is not a problem. 

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  1. Amazing, wish I lived closer! So many celebs dolls too, now I feel a little less guilty for having enough dolls I’m not sure how many Well under 5 hundred, but I was collecting ten years longer.(And we all know once people know you collect dolls they practically leave them on the door-step).I wish we still had a museum here.(There was one and it closed and went to a bigger city.) Lately I am only displaying “duplicate dolls” in a small display in my living room so I can re-home or give them away easier besides the ones that get donated. It was so fun seeing so many fave’s and wish-list, here again I’d love to live closer as I have some great car models from the the 50’s I could give them. I desperately need better ideas on displaying my stuff in the doll room. Some of your pics giving me great ideas!

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  2. She had an amazing collection and I really hope more people visit so it won’t close down like so many other good doll and toy museums have in the past. You have to walk around this place more than once to take it all in. I kept spotting dolls I had not noticed on my first round. I would have bought stuff from there too except I was flying home and had to think about weight and room in my bags. I usually drive over and I think I will next time. I got caught up in a airport nightmare going over. I kept thinking if only I had driven over I could take more stuff home. I did find some interesting dolls for Vanda while I was there and will be taking them to her on Saturday so look out for a post about these soon.


  3. Awesome! This would be more fun for me than the two hour trips to Disneyland or Universal studios, plus everyone can’t get why the “It’s a Small World” ride (with all those moving Doll figures) is my favorite ride. I will always love Disney dolls no matter what Mattel or some companies do to them .I was glad to come across a comic book/action figures place in the mall that has a bin of “used items” similar to what you would see on-line, w/o the shipping! Kind of the good news/bad news/better news..good..hubby getting in shape walking the malls, bad ..I found a new way to spend money..better getting really great “deals” w/o spending so much on shipping. Can someone PLEASE open a “Hoarders Exchange” shoppe we could swap out our duplicates or still really great collectibles, and bring a new (to us) treasure home?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that is a good idea. It’s getting harder to find dolls you really like these days. It’s rare for me to buy a brand new one. The trouble is the really nice ones are expensive. People charge a lot even for their second hand ones. I get the bit about collectables but some people take advantage don’t they? I love the Hoarders Exchange. Wish we had them all over the world but they would probably turn into Amazon or something.


  4. The shipping is what is really hurting us too. It used to be quite affordable, you could get a Barbie or action figure posted here from the USA for as little as $10 and clothing for even less. Now the postage is likely to cost more than the doll!

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  5. I am beginning to see that..it kills me to spend more than $15 on shipping if I just saw the doll at the thrift or swap meet for $8 or less. Living in Cali prices get jacked-up already because of the year round tourism. My thrift store rarely has dolls any more as they have a bigger store 20 min. away. Even finding decent looking “Barbies” for secret Santa is a bother, ended up with a dr. one from a local market.(think it was left-over from Easter). More of the off brands are better quality and value..And half the stuffed toys given to my grandson I end up having to re-stitch together.(Who-ever said boys don’t collect them doesn’t know my 8yr old).Getting where I will have to get him a bean bag chair cover to contain them) SORRY/off point…I admire those why buy and sell toys but disassembling/piecing out toys at crazy rates is sad.I have several figures that will cost more to dress them than they cost. Sorry for the rant. So maybe running out of room for a collection is a sort of blessing.

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    • We all need a rant some time and it’s interesting to hear what others think and feel about collecting and their own dolls and toys etc. I get annoyed by buyers who buy stuff only to resell it at a much more inflated price. Not only do they do that but they take the outfits off and sell the pieces separately. It makes it hard for the average collector on a budget. I’m not buying as many Kens as I used to because they never make any nice ones anymore with Fox M as the exception but with these problems maybe that too is for the best. Have you seen the new ones coming out. Same old same old. There is my rant for today also.


  6. Yes attractive guy dolls are rare! I love celeb dolls but so limited in what they are wearing. I also would love to see wigs for them as so many painted heads would be so much better looking with real looking hair. I also love them as characters..Donny Osmond as Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat ,A Bollywood guy as a character in a favorite book..I redressed a few but my fave vintage Ken was dressed as Cesar or Marc Antony, when I bought him. I love good facemolds. I just got a set of Dick Tracy dolls to beef up my “bad guys” for the mego dolls I love. (not same size but a good enough mash-up).The breathless/madona doll is in a really cool dress. Somewhere between 1:6 and 1:12,but fit in tammys car w/o looking stupid. I adore the New x-files! Have old ones,and some figures.. but mulder is my wish list..the whole list..and Sean Connery. (I’d trade ALL my Kens for those two).But yet again their clothes..well wardrobes, AND shoes, lacking. The white sportscoats and real looking Tuxes/etc,

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  7. (Tonner has lovely dolls but I can only afford the used ones and loose all auctions on the men)..So here’s hoping Santa takes pity on me and lets me buy Mulder instead of a Turkey for Thanksgiving. Or a fruitcake for Christmas.


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