Toy Horses from Weeties cereal    Home Made Chinese Checkers       
Old toys provide us with a snapshot of children's lives and playtime in the past. If we look a little closer they can also reveal things about the larger world that surrounded children. The clothes of a doll mimic the styles of clothes once worn by real people, while an old toy truck is a miniature version of the trucks that once ruled the roads.

This doll belonged to May Turner, who arrived in Carnamah with her parents as a five year old in 1916. May kept the doll at her Carnamah home until her death at the age of 94 in 2006.

Toys are treasured and memorable items that people sometimes hold onto long after they stop playing with them. Some are kept because of the memories they provide, from sentiment towards the person who gifted the toy, or the occasion on which it was received.
Wind-Up Doll
Plastic Dog Toy from Weeties Cereal Box
Featured below is a selection of toys that filled the lives of children from Carnamah and Coorow in the 1940s and 1950s.

There are some that the children of today will never have seen and others that are as popular now as they were sixty years ago.

Using real bones from the ankles of sheep, knucklebones is a series of throwing and catching games. Many of the games involve trying to quickly pick up the bones after the jack (the white one) is thrown up in the air. The game gets harder when you have to catch and toss the bones in certain ways, such as on the back of your hand.
Real Knucklebones
1940s Children's Pencils
Coloured Pencils

When these pencils were brand new they were sold for one shilling and sixpence, which is the equivalent of 15 cents today.

Wooden Double Pencil Case

The below pencil case is made entirely of wood. The lid slides on and off, and the the top section swings out to reveal a second level.
Wooden Pencil Case
Metal Toy Kettle and Plastic Cup, Saucer and Spoon
Metal Toy Kettle

I'm a little teapot,
Short and stout,
Here is my handle,
Here is my spout,
When I get all steamed up,
Hear me shout,
Tip me over and pour me out!

Plastic Cup, Saucer and Spoon

Molly, my sister and I fell out,
And what do you think it was all about?
She loved coffee and I loved tea,
And that was the reason we couldn't agree.
Toy Wire Puzzles
Six Wire Puzzles

These puzzles were a toy for both children and adults. The challenge was to try and work out how to move the two or three intertwined pieces of wire so you could separate them.
Home-Made Ging or Sling

The rather rough ging was entirely made by me when I was about 11 years old.

I'd put a small stone in the centre of the leather pad and hold it in place with one hand and stretch the rubber back as much as possible while my other hand held the bottom of the wooden V. I'd attempt to let go so that the stone flew off between the V and hit the target – usually an old empty fruit tin or Sunshine Milk tin. Gings were banned at Coorow School but on the weekend town boys and girls would set off on bicycles for nearby scrub and gings were used on various targets... but I don’t remember any birds actually being hit!

-- Jill Tilly, reflecting on her ging
Toy Ging or Toy Sling
1940s Snap Card Game Box
Snap Card Game

Snap is often the first card game played by children. The cards are distributed equally to players and they then take it in turns putting one of their cards face-up. If the same card is placed down twice in a row the race is on to place your hands on the cards and call "snap!". Whoever does this first takes the cards and adds them to their pile. The game continues until one of the players ends up with all of the cards.

Home-Made Chinese Checkers

The set of Chinese Checkers below was made by Mrs Moreen W. Reading on Wellmeadow Farm in Carnamah. She used materials she could find on the farm, and made it for her three children to play with.
Home-Made Chinese Checkers
Weeties cereal advertisement
Plastic Toys from Weeties

Weeties was a a popular breakfast cereal in the 1940s and 1950s. For many years the cereal boxes contained toys, collector cards or vouchers that could be saved up and redeemed for toys.

Toy Dog from Weeties cereal

Toy Horses from Weeties cereal
Children who ate Weeties could sign up to join the Willie Weeties Club. Willie was a dressed grain of wheat with a crown on his head.

Eileen Reading of Carnamah was a member and received a birthday message from the club in this envelope in 1953.
Willie Weeties Club 1953 envelope

Codd Neck Bottle and Marbles

Marbles was a very common game in schoolyards across Australia. People would use their marbles to compete against each other in games that involved trying to hit or knock the other person's marbles. If the game was played "for keeps" it meant the winner got to keep their opponent's marbles.

Codd neck bottles were used for carbonated soft drinks and had a marble and rubber washer inside a chamber in the bottle. When the bottles were filled upside down the pressure would push the marble against the washer and seal the drink so it didn't go flat. The marble was then pushed down to open the bottle. Children would search for the bottles so they could smash them and get the glass marble!

1958 Overland Fright Service Toy Truck
Trucks and Wind-Up Car

A small key went in the hole on the side of the car and when turned moved mechanical parts on the inside. The car would then move on its own.
Truck and Wind-Up Car
1950s Children's Birthday Lolly Basket
Lolly Basket and Toy Clicker

When a child celebrated their birthday their friends were sometimes given a small cardboard basket filled with lollies. Another common gift for everyone at children's birthday parties were small metal clickers, like the one below. The narrower ends had a metal strip behind them that when pushed inwards made a clicking sound.

1950s Toy Clicker
Mechanical Catherine Wheel

The small spring latched onto the hook on the end which was then pushed down. The tension of the spring would then make multiple parts move, including the spinning of the red and and light blue pieces of glass.
Mechanical Toy Catheirne Wheel
Stephen Frost

That's a fabulous display. In my first year of high school (I was sent away to boarding school in Perth) we had to make a pencil case very similar to the one shown. It lasted for all of high school... I also remember those plastic toys from Weeties, but I never went as far as joining the club (although that envelope from Weeties is a classic). Great work!

Yvette Bowman (nee Whitehurst)

We used to get knuckle bones from Martin Bros who were the butchers in Carnamah. Colin Martin, who we called Uncle Colin, lived next door to us and he used to bring us the knuckle bones or we would go out to their slaughter house on the edge of town and get them. We'd paint the knuckle bones different colours and play with them. We were allowed to take them and marbles to school and used to play with them during lunch and after school. Later on they stopped you taking them to school so then we played hop scotch.

We also used to play with stilts made out of Sunshine milk tins. We'd get the tins from the Boyers as they used a lot of powdered milk whereas our Mum didn't. Dad would drill a hole in each side and use binder twine to make a loop to slip your foot into to. We used to paint them too and muck around with them. We'd even run with them on. We used to fall over and hurt ourselves quite a bit but it was a lot of fun.

Coral Allen

Love them all, best times ever, Toys of today are no where near as entertaining, full of fun, reusable, lasting..
I have a knuckle bone Jacks that I have kept over the years, for my grandaughters to play with, unfortunately no.. So maybe my little greatgrand babies will try them :))
My brothers always had a shangi, as we called them here on the East coast, My dad used to make them & funny they where never used on birds or animals, just out & out fun..
Tears came to my eyes when I saw the pencil case & Columbia pencils went from my older brother, me & 2 younger brothers..
Also absolutely love your page.. By Coral 72yrs young :))

Catherine Crout-Habel

I swear that wooden pencil case and the knuckle bones are mine!! Those sillly plastic knuckle bones which came later were TOO light to play with properly... and the little plastic dogs and horses, from the weeties packets, we used to make walk down a slope (e.g. a book)... ahhh, those were the days. Thanks SO much for the reminding. I'd even forgotton that we used to eat, and love, Weeties.

Phil Hill

Brilliant idea putting these up for everyone to reminisce. I know it got my grey matter ticking over. I immediately remembered those toys from the Weeties packets and having races with them on the table and of course tying too heavy a weight on them and they would slide at a great rate of knots off the table. It reminded me of the Balsa Aeroplanes that also came in the Ipana Toothpaste boxes which I got thanks to a generous sister of mine who lived down the road and used Ipana. I think this is just such an excellent idea. Thanks for the memories. Phil

Jenny Quartermaine

I remember so much of these toys.. the marbles played in the school grounds at Dongara Primary School, knuckjacks, the toys and small comic books in the Weeties. There were 5 of us kids and we all vied for whose turn it was to keep it. My two older brothers both had gings - made from tree prongs and cut up rubber tyre tubes. Once Mum had a close encounter when one of the boys fired the ging toward the house and hit mum on the forehead with a stone. I'm sure the boys would have had a severe reprimand if not had their ging confiscated. We lived at Eneabba from about 1958-64.

Joanne Hyland

My Dad was in the Willie Weeties Band in 1948/49 at the age of 8 years. He went to a school of music and was in a band playing the banjo. This band went on to become the Willie Weetie's Band and they played on Saturday mornings on the 3rd floor of Boans Department store in Perth city. The performance was also transmitted by radio 6PR!

I found this info on the WATVHistory webpage "Young listeners enjoyed attending the incredibly popular “live” children’s sing-along program, Willie Weeties Club, the ‘Kiddies’ Kommunity Koncert and the Happy Hour Club, held Saturday mornings in a hall on the top storey of Boans department store. The Saturday Morning Children’s concert with John Luke was advertised as Children’s Concert. The sponsor was Weeties."

Bronwyn Edney

I remember most of these toys on here & still have a wind up mouse but cant work out how to put a picture of it on here.... Also your Chinese checkers remind me of an old crib board my parents had, made out of a piece of drilled wood with matchsticks for markers...One person had the heads & the other didn'

Helen Green (nee Rowland)

My brother Graeme and I got a scooter each for Christmas one year so Mum and Dad must have sold a few pigs to get a bit of money. A man on the land never had any money! We had a creek that ran across the road near our house. We used to go up the top of the hill, and we thought the hill was huge, and you’d come down and go head over heels as you went into the sand at the bottom.

At the top of hill the fence went over a big slab of granite. We had shovels, picks and crowbars up there because we reckoned there was a cave there. We were always digging but we never got through! The marks are still there.

Yvonne Robinson-Schorer

Ah the old knuckle bones . In the good old days we would walk to the slaughter yards in Carnamah and find sets of five, paint them and play.

Susan Aguirre

I have enjoyed looking back on yesteryear and realising that many of the things were of my childhood too. I think that my mother STILL might have my father's wooden pencil case exactly like the one here. We used to have those 'walking horses'. I remember how we use to lift the kitchen table up at one end so that the little horse would 'walk' down the table. The wire puzzles would keep me occupied for a long time even though I would get very frustrated as I tried to figure out the trick. And knuckle bones or 'Jacks' as we called them. My friends and I would play for hours. Homemade sling shots and marbles hahaha a great combination!

Dale Freegard

WOW what a beautiful site and displayed so well. What a great idea and a great modern way of sharing.

Jane Alderson

I'm trying to find a walking toy like the weetie for disabled child and hit your site, it's great !!! I had something similar to a weetie many years ago and called it 'Donkey Donk'. We will add Carnamah to our list of places to go when we next visit family in Boyup Brook.

Sue Sumner

I do have a comment. What a fabulous site. I am a teacher and am looking into old toys with my Year 1 children. The WA Museum used to send out subject boxes and one of them was about toys but they no longer do that so this site is wonderful for me to show to the children. A lady from the museum suggested your site. I will of course work with my local museum and grandparents in my town of Boyup Brook. Regards Sue Sumner.

Sandra Eldington (Wiseman)

I used to listen to the 'Willy Weeties Show' on the radio on a Saturday morning. I got up the nerve one Saturday morning and with Mums permission, I was allowed to catch the bus into Perth from Bayswater and go to the Willy Weeties show. It was held in a big room with several people organising it and they had a film screen with the words of each song. We all sang along. It was fun. I went several times.

Lee Hoinville

Some of my favourite toys as a child were two tin cans with two holes put on top of each one, with nails and string threaded through them. We used them as stilts and had races with my my sister on them. We also made fishing lines from a stick and string with a bent pin. We only ever caught leaves but it was great fun!

Wendy Carr

My Dad used to make cotton reel toys... only work properly with wooden cotton reels... hard to get now!
Our catty (catapault) used a Y shaped stick, hunted for in the woods, always self cut and whittled with a "tag notch" for ownership. Then you nicked your sister's gym knickers because they had the best elastic! Pebbles, acorns, unsoaked peas were the ammo. Chew up your rubber if desperate.

Jean Conlan

Thanks for sharing these all favourites. What a shame time moves so quickly and we forget our childhood. Thanks for bringing it back to me for a little while. Cheers, have a great day.

Russell Mott

I remember the Columbia pencils and the pencil case shown. I had one very similar at primary school. Also the Lakeland pencils were a favourite of mine. My parents could not afford the Derwent range at the time. Great memories here.

Janice Slater

Love the gallery. Well done. Most nostalgic for me is the wooden pencil case. I loved mine.

Pam Van Beem

I went to Boans [department store] on a Saturday to the Willie Weeties Club.

Paula Slater (nee Sears)

I love your site which I have just discovered in a list of history resources linked to the year three history program. I grew up in Perenjori and Three Springs and have fond memories of the Weeties plastic animals. I have a set of four different ones. They actually walk across a table and stop at the edge without falling off. Mine come complete with their weights which you connect with thread to the loop under the animal's chin. My class had fun watching them toddle along and pull up. I have Neddy the horse, Fido the dog, Daffy the duck and Daisy the cow. I am not sure if these are the original names from the Weeties box or if we made them up at home. They came in a plastic frame in pieces and had to be twisted off and assembled. My family was doing this in the early 1960s. Weeties moved on to little racing cars which also had to be put together. This was followed by sports fan cards, then the freebies died out.

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