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The Golly Emporium & Toy Museum

Home > Perth > Afternoon Tea | Escape the City | High Tea | Museums
by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at:
Published November 3rd 2014
Golly Gosh, Noddy and Garfield, Big Ears and Teddy
There are few things as precious in most lives as the first soft toy we are given.

We pour our childish secrets into their tattered, well-chewed ears. They keep us safe from the monsters under the bed, share our joys and woes, eat the spare biscuit on the plate and cuddle us at night.

Many and many a middle-aged and older person has their first soft toy tucked away on top of a wardrobe or at the back of a closet because they simply are too precious to be thrown or given away.

No truer friend ever exists than Teddie, or Golly, or Mr Woofy or Snoopy.

Gollywog, Toodyay, The Golly Emporium and Toy Museum, Teddy Bears
The Old Stationmaster's House, Toodyay home to the Golly Emporium (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

Joanne Sherar, owner of the Gollywog Emporium and Toy Museum in Toodyay came late to Gollywogs, those cheerful stuffed toys that originated from a 1895 childrens' book about a gnome called the 'Golliwogg'. The illustration put him in traditional blackface minstrel garb and a child's toy was born.

Gollywog, Toodyay, The Golly Emporium and Toy Museum, Teddy Bears
Jo welcoming visitors to the Golly Emporium (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

Joanne saw her first Golly thirty years ago as a young girl and fell in love with them. Since then she has steadily added to what was first a small collection, then a large collection and now pretty much fills a whole large house.

Gollywog, Toodyay, The Golly Emporium and Toy Museum, Teddy Bears
Gollywogs (Photograph by D Sutherlabd-Bruce)

In the Stationmaster's House in Toodyay, commercial Gollys and Teddies jostle together with hand-knitted Granny-made and patchwork ones from craft shops.

Joanne's thirty year collection filled her house until a bequest from her brother Graeme (a Garfield fan himself) made it possible to renovate an historic Federation home in Toodyay and open a Golly and Toy Museum.

Gollywog, Toodyay, The Golly Emporium and Toy Museum, Teddy Bears
More Gollys (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

The museum, which spills into several rooms is dedicated to Graeme's memory and the profits from the entry donation to the museum go to Princess Margaret Hospital for children.

As well as gollies, there are wide variety of toys, stuffed and otherwise. So many that I'm sure that everyone would be able to identify at least one toy from their own childhood - Thomas the Tank Engine, Annie, ballerinas and more.

Gollywog, Toodyay, The Golly Emporium and Toy Museum, Teddy Bears
Toys (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

It's called a museum, but there is nothing of the 'don't touch' 'hidden away behind glass' about this coll-ection of much-loved childhood companions.

And while you're there, revelling in nostalgia, working up a thirst, you may feel the need for a cuppa and a home-made scone spread with home-made jam and local cream whipped. ($8.50)
Joanne has a number of plans in hand, one of which is a service of High Tea.

Gollywog, Toodyay, The Golly Emporium and Toy Museum, Teddy Bears
A nice cuppa and a scone (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

She was kind enough to allow us to try one of her proposed rustic high teas of lovely fresh sandwiches, miniature delicious pies, glossy glazed fruit tarts and individual marzipan-covered Battenburg cakes.

She also has plans in hand for a collection of toy trains to be set up in the reasonably near future in a separate building off the main house.

Gollywog, Toodyay, The Golly Emporium and Toy Museum, Teddy Bears
High Teas at The Golly Emporium (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

Well worth a visit to see the toys and re-visit you lost youth and have a delightful Devonshire or High Tea (quite soon).

There are some Gollys and other craft for sale as well as various giftwares and some rather nice clothing.
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Why? A romp through childhood's memories.
When: Wednesday to Sunday & Public Holidays from 10am to 4pm
Phone: 0421 113 620
Where: The Old Stationmaseter's House, 61 Stirling Terrace, Toodyay
Cost: Donation
Your Comment
Their are a couple of versions of the origin of the Golliwog. Here's is another:-

The history of the Golliwog began during the British occupation of Egypt in the late 1800's, Egyptian workers wore the letters W.O.G.S signifying that they were Working On Government Service. These labourers were nicknamed Ghuls (the Arabic word for Desert Ghost) by the British Troops.
Children in Egypt played with black stuffed material dolls, nicknamed Ghuliwogs, which were often purchased by the soldiers returning to England. This name would eventually become the Golliwogs we know today.
by terry (score: 0|8) 1312 days ago
I always wondered how Gollywogs originated, I didn't know they came from a book.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12622) 2180 days ago
Thanks for posting. Yes, "The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg", 1895, illustrated by Florence Jane Upton.
by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (score: 3|1682) 2180 days ago
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