Thursday, January 6, 2011

Another drive through the mountains

A year ago, I hired a car and drove my mother home from Sydney, because the plane was booked out. We had a good trip and were able to go to a bookshop in the mountains, so this year we decided to drive again.

However, this year we made the trip on December 30th, rather than in January, and the highway was so busy (and had long stretches of roadworks leaving only one lane each way), that at times we were doing only 10 km an hour, bumper to bumper with all the other cars. Some no doubt were returning from or going on holidays, as we were; others were Sydney-siders spending the day in the mountains.

Apart from the traffic, the trip is really too long for Mum now, as her strength and stamina have decreased a lot in the last year. So I don't think we'll do it again - maybe I'll hire a car to travel up to see her instead, or to get back to Sydney after visiting her, as there's a lot to see in the mountains.

This time, I wanted to visit Leuralla Toy and Railway Museum in Leura. It has beautiful large gardens (which we didn't attempt), and imposing stone steps up to the entrance (which we managed) - and a wonderful collection of Lenci dolls, model trains, tintoys, and many other toys. Here are some things that caught my eye.

All the comforts needed for your railway trip:

Some relaxing places to visit:

Interesting people:

and impressive buildings:

More Lotts Bricks! a different set from the one I have - it looks like these were not intended to be painted.

This tall tower looks like it's made from a wooden construction set, but I'm not sure.

As well, there is a vintage, homemade dolls house. It is also called Leuralla, and was part of the exhibition of Dolls Houses in Australia 1870-1950 ten years ago. It's the main reason I wanted to visit the museum, but it's not possible to see it close up, as it sits in the children's bedroom by the window:

There's so much to see at Leuralla, I'd love to go back one day.

As we drove on over the mountains, we passed Trains, Planes and Automobiles. I had been to their shop in Annandale when I stayed with my sister last year, and I'd hoped to get to the Mount Victoria shop on this trip. We left Leura much later than I'd expected, because of the heavy traffic, so I thought that the shop would be closed. However, their Open sign was still out, so I pulled over and went in. Here's what I found:

A tiny caravan, with stars and moons on the roof! It's marked only with the number 2, on the inside of both the roof and the cabin, so I don't know who made it. It's quite light metal - aluminium, or an alloy of some kind? - and is missing the yoke for the horse. I love the colours and the design - and as the roof lifts off, I could furnish it, for a very tiny person - it's only 2 inches long!


  1. What a great trip I just took with you. I love all the chickens at the old doll house. Everything is fabulous. Nice photos too. Thanks so much for sharing. Sorry your traffic was so bad. In the news here they make it seem like most of Australia is very wet and underwater. Good to know you are dry.

  2. Oh Rebecca, Those Buffets! How fabulous! The caravan is unique too.

    My Mother passed away and it is a journey in and of itself. Enjoy your days. C

  3. oh, how wonderful, so many miniatures and I just love Lenci dolls, although the photo of the fun fair is not very sharp, it looks very interesting and unusual.

  4. you've just whet my appetite for a little trip..lovely stuff, the girls room, with the dolls house is a dream. your little caravan looks like a gypsy wagon with the symbols on the roof..

  5. What a lovely museum! It is a pity, but I will probably never get the chance to visit it, so your photos are much appreciated! The little gypsy caravan looks like the caravan that Toad uses in 'Wind in the Willows'. Delightful.

    I'm sorry to hear the trip wasn't too much fun otherwise.

  6. We used to visit Leuralla regularly when we lived in the Blue Mountains, but the displays would change each time. Last time we went from Queensland, a couple of years ago and after I had bought the book of the Dolls Houses in Australia exhibition, the house wasn't there - very disappointing. I'm glad it has resurfaced. :)

  7. Hi Amy, Thanks! Yes, this part of Australia is not flooded. When I return home to Darwin, I'll be back in the wet season, but there's no unusual flooding, unlike poor Queensland.

  8. Hi CM, yes, I'd like to travel on a train with those buffets - and a siesta trolley, too!

    It is indeed a journey with an ageing parent. I have a few days more here, before I start my trip back - wish it could be longer!

  9. Maybe you'll be able to visit some day, puppenstubensammlerin! Sorry about the photos - I found it a bit tricky taking photos through the glass, from different angles, wondering about flash reflecting ... The fun fair is fascinating, I have never seen a mammoth cave (or grotto) at a fair before - and I don't think I'd be brave enough to go in!

  10. Hi Lynne, glad you enjoyed my photos, poor though they are! There's much much more there - and as Christine says, I think they change the exhibits, too. So I hope I'll get back one day - and who knows, maybe you'll be staying at Varuna sometime, and be able to visit too :-)

    Hmm, I'm not sure I'd want Toad living in my lovely little caravan - but I'm not sure who will live there yet!

  11. Hi Christine, how wonderful! I'd love to live close enough to be able to visit often. The website emphasises the Mad Hatter's Tea Party at the moment, and Alice in Wonderland exhibits were quite prominent, so I expect they do still change them regularly.
    There was an information board about the dolls house in the bedroom, so it seems quite a significant exhibit at the moment. I didn't take the time to read it, as Mum was waiting for me downstairs (and I have the book). The woman at the entry desk knew where the dolls house was too, when I asked about it. I hope it stays out - I just wish it was a bit closer, so you could actually see the interior. I'm sure they could place it so no-one could touch it but it could be better seen - but in the layout of the bedroom, it probably fits better by the window ...

  12. Consulted a map regarding the flooding in Australia. Glad to see Darwin is far to the north of Brisbane. Assuming your toea are dry,CM

  13. I like the little farm set - it reminds me of a toy farm with lead animals that we had as children (long since given away).

  14. thanks for posting all those marvellous toy pictures! That dear little farm- and the trains. Wonderful! I have returned to blogging and to Dolls Houses past and present, Rebecca. Missed vintage dolls houses!