Toy, pull-along crocodile, timber, home-made by Janet Denne (nee Windeyer) at "Kinross", Raymond Terrace, New South Wales, Australia, 1947
This child's toy pull-along crocodile is an excellent example of a home-made toy. It was made in 1947 by a 13-year-old New South Wales school girl, Janet Denne (nee Windeyer), for her little brother. It is largely made of 17 wooden cotton reels threaded with cotton cord from a World War II camouflage net and a carved timber head.
The toy is both naive and charming in its appearance and has the look of a much loved and sturdy home-made toy. The components which made up its construction point to an earlier age of "making-do" and busy industry. The cotton reels indicate a household where much sewing was undertaken. The cotton cord was left over from when her father made camouflage nets in his spare time during the Second World War. He was running a farm, "Kinross", at Raymond Terrace, New South Wales, and the nets were made by many Australian civilians to place over artillery and aircraft.
After the war there were few toys available in Australia from overseas due to shipping restrictions. At the same time there was considerable growth in the cottage-industry style manufacture of timber toys here. Carpentry and hobby books also provided plans for handy fathers and grandfathers to make toys for their children and grandchildren. This toy is unusual as it was made by a young girl for her brother. It illustrates the girl's imagination, creativity and design as well as some expertise in timber work. Its retention by the girl who made it over 60 years ago with its consequent provenance is also of significance.
Curator, Transport & Toys
Information provided by Janet Denne (Windeyer), 2011.
This toy crocodile was home made in 1947 by Janet Denne (nee Windeyer) as a 13-year-old for her little brother. It was made while living at "Kinross", Raymond Terrace, New South Wales. Janet was very good with her hands and always making things using the available materials at hand.
The toy crocodile was made by Janet Denne for her 2-year-old brother, Peter, born in 1945. It was a popular toy used by a couple of generations of children down the years.
This toy is one of a small group of toys used in her childhood and donated to the Museum by Janet Denne (nee Windeyer) in 2012.