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Spinning tops and gumdrops : a portrait of colonial childhood

Barnard, Edwin2018
'Spinning Tops and Gumdrops' takes us back to childhood in colonial Australia. The delight of children at play is universal, but the pleasure these children experience as depicted through the book's photographs is through their 'imagination, skill and daring' rather than through possessions. Children play quoits and jacks, hide and seek, cricket with a kerosene tin for a wicket, dress ups and charades. Being a child in colonial Australia was also tough. It was a time when school yard disagreements were sorted out with fists and 'the loss of a little claret'. A time when children could view public hangings and premature death was frequent, especially taking the very young and vulnerable though dysentery, whooping cough or diphtheria. The photographs show children happily absorbed in the play of their own making. The lasting impression left by the contemporary accounts, photographs, etchings and paintings of colonial children in 'Spinning Tops and Gumdrops' is their possession of qualities of resilience, self-sufficiency and acceptance of their lot. These are qualities on which contemporary society still places a high value, but which today seem a little more elusive.
Canberra, ACT : National Library of Australia, [2018]
191 pages : illustrations (some colour), portraits ; 26 cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Dewey class:
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