200 George Street

All Fun and Games

Case 9

Children and adults played games for fun and amusement. This small doll’s arm was likely owned by one of the many children who lived here. Marbles were a common toy for children, but were also used in board games. The marbles are all ceramic and probably came from Germany. The Germans dominated the marble-making market before World War I. A wide variety of marbles were found. ‘Chinas’ were made of porcelain painted in bands, the pink-swirled ‘aggies’ were clay and made to imitate expensive stone marbles. Most plentiful, were the cheap and readily available ‘commies’; buff-coloured and poor quality earthenware.

Chinese coins like this couldn’t be used as money in Australia, but could be used in fortune telling or as tokens in gambling games such as fantan.

A simple musical instrument like the jaw harp could be played by adults or children. The frame is placed between the players teeth, and the central tongue of flexible metal (missing here) is plucked to create a note.

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