Friday, 31 May 2024

The Luke Jones Toy Exhibition the David Roche Foundation

It is Rod’s and my pleasure to join you for the official opening of the Australian Toys 1880-1965 :The Luke Jones Collection exhibition.

It is always a delight to visit the David Roche Foundation House museum. Rod and I were particularly captivated by the bold tapestries of last year’s Arthur Boyd The Life of St Francis exhibition.

Already I can see that we will be equally drawn to the toy exhibition and the childhood memories it will evoke.

The David Roche Foundation’s exhibitions are always exquisite, offering us a rare glimpse into the finest of art, expertly curated and displayed. Thank you to everyone involved.

Luke Jones’s collection, of which there are 300 or so pieces here, has been gathered in a labour of love.

It tells of a time of innocence and imagination. A time when a simple wooden toy becomes a prancing horse in a child’s mind.

Not only does the exhibition document the evolution of children’s toys from tin and wood to more mass production, it also tells some of the story of our lives: our love of Minties and footie, the colourful vans that brought us goods delivered right to the house (as they do again today, though not quite so colourfully), our fascination with Holden cars, our love of our native fauna.

The exhibition is a trip down memory lane; one of nostalgia. Children today will be fascinated that such simple toys could be played with for hours.

I was surprised to learn that there is in the exhibition a mini Hills Hoist toy.

As my late father Ian Adamson was a manager at Hills Industries, had I known there was such a toy, I might have asked for one for my birthday.

After all, we did have a full-size Hills Hoist out the back and as we all know the Hills Hoist has been a plaything and spinning ride for many children throughout the years.

And it looks as if I missed an opportunity. The internet suggests such vintage mini Hills Hoist toys command a hefty price these days.

Friends, I thank and congratulate Luke for sharing his extensive collection with the public in this venue and Robert Reason for recognising the collection’s exhibition potential.

It truly is a wonderful treasure trove that will bring much joy, evoke many memories and stimulate the kinds of conversations, including between generations, which are good for us.

After all, like Luke, we are all big kids at heart.

I am absolutely delighted to declare open Australian Toys 1880-1965: The Luke Jones Collection.

Coming events