This is a dolls house made by the Sydney company Bestoys, probably in the 1960s. You may remember that I discovered Bestoys in the toy trade journals I looked through in May last year. I saw photos of three Bestoys dolls houses in those journals, from 1964 and 1967. None is exactly the same as this model, although one has a similar design, and appears to have some printed details on it.
As you can see, this dolls house has a name printed on the lithographed balcony balustrade: it's called Bambolina, which means Dolly in Italian. This name, and the name of my other Bestoys dolls house - Laura, which was not a particularly popular girls' name in Australia until the 1980s - make me curious about the people behind this company. I hope I can find out more.
The brand name is very helpfully printed on the patio balustrade:
This house is quite big - it's 33 1/2" (about 83 cm) wide by 26 1/2" (about 66 cm) tall, at the peak of the roof. I bought it from someone living near Bathurst (who had bought it from an antiques and collectables shop in Sydney), and when I went to pick it up last time I was in Bathurst, I told my sister it was just a small dolls house .... I hadn't realised how big it was! I was probably thinking of another Bestoys dolls house which Anna Maria collected for me from a seller in Canberra, which is (I think) only two rooms wide:
This Bestoys dolls house is called Laura.
There are six rooms, which are 12" (30 cm) high, about 10" (25 cm) wide and about 9" (22.5 cm) deep.
The brightly coloured interior is not original - traces of the original pale green paint can be seen on the edges:
So maybe as well as cleaning it, I'll strip the interior of this dolls house, too. I don't think the red paint on the balcony and patio is original either, as it's quite blotchy at the sides. But the chipboard the house is made of is a bit battered in places, so perhaps it was painted to conceal that.
The roof is made from firmer material (perhaps hardboard?), moulded on the upper surface into the shape of tiles:
I don't yet have a sense of how I will furnish this house, or which dolls will live in it. But as you can imagine, I'm very happy to have dolls houses made by this Australian company!