Sunday, October 16, 2011

A set of homemade model buildings

This is not the house I referred to in my last post, but I just realised that I had photos on my camera of a house I picked up in Sydney in July! The house is now here, of course, but I haven't furnished it yet, so it is still worth showing these photos.

I bought the house, and the other buildings with it, on Australian ebay. I was particularly attracted to the garage, with its sloping roof, round windows and tapered, rounded screen at the entrance:

I was staying with my sister in July, and we drove to the Ikea Sydney store, where she wanted to buy some things, and I headed off up the winding way to Newport in Sydney's northern beaches area.

The seller's husband had found these toys while doing a house clearance, and the seller offered me other things from the same clearance. There were lots of plastic soldiers and camouflaged buildings and vehicles, which I left, but I did pick out the cars which you can see in the photo above, and a few other things. Then I drove in to Newport shopping centre, to get some more cash for the extra things I was buying - and found a German bakery! Bliss!

The little house seems designed to fit the plastic farm figures:

There are also some farm buildings, stables, perhaps a barn, what could be kennels:

I'm not actually sure what the building below was designed to be. It has lots of small windows on two levels, but no floor dividing the levels inside. From a distance, it could maybe be a school building - but maybe it was meant as a farm building?

The tiny covered wagon (above) is made from a matchbox, with a paper hood and cardboard wheels. It may have been part of the army equipment, or perhaps it went with the plastic cowboys and Indian figures which were also part of the lot.

There is some great fencing:

and I also bought some walls, which would have been used with the toy soldiers I think. In this photo, they are holding down one of the plastic bags which held the plastic figures:

This bag is not very exciting, but the fact that it has the measurements of the tissue paper in inches indicates that it dates from the mid 1970s at the latest. (Australia converted to metric measurements in about 1974. I was in primary school, and I remember learning to convert! I'm still better at thinking of some things in inches and feet, though.)

The other bag which was used to store the farm animals is more interesting, and it is clearly dated.

One side shows Bennelong Point, with Government House, in 1873. The other shows Bennelong Point in 1973 - it's where the Sydney Opera House now stands, and, as the bag also informs us, this was a souvenir from the Sydney Opera House. 1973 was the year the Opera House was opened, by the Queen, so this bag is probably one of the first souvenirs.

Probably these plastic figures were stored away sometime in the late 1970s. The buildings certainly seem to date from the 1960s, so I guess the children they were made for grew up and grew out of them. The buildings are all clearly homemade, and the figures were bought: the petrol pumps for the garage were made in Hong Kong, and the farm animals and people were too.

Among the other items from the house clearance was one in a box (it may have been a harmonica, I can't remember for sure now), with a scrap of paper with the name Milina on it. I looked this name up in the current Sydney telephone directory, and there are several people with the surname Milina listed in the northern beaches area of Sydney. Perhaps these model buildings were made by a Milina of an earlier generation for his (or her) children to play with.


  1. What cute houses! I vote that building is a school. Great find! CM

  2. Thanks, CM! If it's a school, I'll need to find some tiny desks for it!

  3. I like that gas station. The round windows and the angles are very retro and very cool!