Inside the Collection

Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Pelz Nicol and Father Christmas

Although many countries call Father Christmas by other names the tradition of making Christmas decorations have familiar characters and colours, often rotund male figures with long white beards dressed in red and white. I found these delightful and somewhat unusual representations in our collection. They are part of a larger donation from the Monica Piddington Memorial Trust and were a gift from the Jindera Pioneer Museum to the Powerhouse Museum in in 1970.

Monica Piddington (1899-1967) was born at Narrandera, NSW, and became a kindergarten teacher. In the 1930s she went on to become the first director of the famous Sydney Playways educational toy shop which opened in Dalley Street, near Circular Quay, and was owned by the Kindergarten Union. Apparently Monica travelled around the world collecting toys of ‘superior design, craftsmanship and quality’ making them available to Australian teachers, parents and children. Many of her toys seem to mainly come from Scandinavian countries. In the 1960s the shop moved to Clarence Street. After the Kindergarten Union decided to sell the business, it was taken over by the staff, all Early Childhood graduates, and re-opened as the Play House Toy Shop which operated from 1989 until 2007.

Post by Anni Turnbull

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