My Metti & Netta Family

The first time I can remember seeing the aboriginal doll, Bindi, made by Metti was in about 1968. I can even remember where I saw her, in the window of a shop called Sands & McDougall’s at Elizabeth Town Centre in South Australia. She made an impression on me because I had never seen an aboriginal doll before. I remember wondering if there was any connection to Rolf Harris who I knew had a daughter called Bindi. These days I guess we would think of Bindi Irwin!

I didn’t know until many years later that Metti was an Australian toy company. As well as the Bindi doll and her little sister Picanninny they made a range of other toys including Humphrey Bear plush and plastic toys and nightlights. Humphrey originated in South Australia too but we’ll save Humphrey for another day.

As well as Bindi these dolls were also often found dressed in tribal costumes from Papua New Guinea. It is quite interesting to read how this came about.

For further information here are a couple of links which I have found helpful. The first one is to the Museum of Victoria and the second to a fellow blogger, Vintage Cobweb http://www.vintagecobweb.com/ who has a Metti/Netta page on her blog as well as lots of other interesting collectibles. Thank you Michelle for giving me permission to use some of your photos of Metti dolls in tribal dress.

In 1976 the Metti Company closed down as many Australia toy companies were doing at that time. Two former Metti employees bought the business and renamed it Netta. They continued to make Bindi and their factory in Newton, an Adelaide suburb manufactured dolls for many years. Ten years or so ago I heard that the owners wished to retire and later that the factory had closed and production had gone offshore. I’m not sure if this is true but Netta is still operating as a company manufacturing and importing dolls. http://nettaaustralia.com.au/

Here are some of my dolls:

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Most of my Australian doll collection is Netta dolls and I find them very appealing. Some of the first dolls I bought new as a collector were Netta’s.

As well as Bindi and her friends I have some large baby and toddler dolls. These dolls can be found with both painted and rooted hair. They are anatomically correct and come in several sizes and ethnicities.

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8 comments

  1. Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me what a fair price for a “Bindi” still in the box would be! I have come across 2 and want to be sure I’m paying a fair price. They are asking $80 each! Thanks for any help. Ben.

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    • Hi Ben, I bought mine some years ago and at a very good price. I rarely buy boxed dolls. I do feel $80 seems a bit high but it probably depends on how common they are where you are and how rare the particular dolls are.Netta Bindi’s would not go for as much as the older Metti ones even though they look similar so check that out. Here’s a link to Vintage Cobweb vintagecobweb.com, this lady has a Metti collection and might be more help with values. In the end though it depends how badly you want the dolls doesn’t it. If you fear you might not see another for a while or that you may not see a better price you might be prepared to pay more or you could play the long game and just keep looking till the right doll comes along at the right price. I was living in Adelaide when I bought my Bindis and that is where they were made so I think they were probably plentiful there. I do see them come up on eBay regularly although not often still boxed. Hope this helps and please LMK how you get on.

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      • Thank- you for your quick response! I’m looking to buy them for my indiginous daughter, to keep for when she gets older! I have just seen one on gumtree for $85, might have to start collecting. Will keep in touch with my discoveries!

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      • Please do Ben, I wasn’t sure where you were. I imagine Bindi is a lot harder to find outside of Australia! I’m sure your daughter will love her. I think they have great faces. I think Netta may still make an indigenous baby doll. You might like to Google the company and see if they have a current catalouge.

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  2. Hi. I have just come across you while trying to find out contact details for Netta dolls. Now I know why I don’t get answers to my emails and their phone is not connected. I have a number of Netta and one or two Metti dolls that I want to sell but am finding it difficult to gauge prices, especially for one large black doll that has a glued on wig that is hanging off, do I re-glue it or take it off and clean up the scalp? Did they come with wigs? Any information would be appreciated.
    Would you have any contact details for Netta – where ever they are – please?

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    • Hi Margaret, I don’t have contact details for Netta, they did have a webpage when I wrote that piece a couple of years ago as they were still manufacturing but offshore. I’ll check again and get back to you via email. None of my Nettas have wigs, they all have either rooted or painted hair. I would favour removing rather than re-glueing I think unless the wig is more on than off. If you are on Social Media there is a Facebook doll group with some very knowledgeable members I could put you in touch with. More later.

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