Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bambolina Dolls House by Bestoys

I didn't get any more paint stripping done today; I did unpack some more of my sister's boxes, though. I also took these photos of one of the new dolls houses I mentioned in my last post.

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!


  1. Hi Rebecca. Happy New Year. I love the frontage of this house. It is interesting it has an Italian name when it is made in Australia. I hope you manage to find some information on the family behind the company. The house does remind me of some of the old houses I have seen in Sydney.

    1. Hi Sharee, Thank you, a very Happy New Year to you too! I hope I find out more information, too - I think that will have to wait until I can read more toy trade journals. The only newspaper mentions I've found for Bestoys are job vacancies!

  2. Would it help you if I sent you some interior photos of the Laura house I have on top of my fridge?

    1. Thanks for the offer, Anna Maria :-) I'm in no hurry, as I'm only here until the end of this week, and (apart from unpacking boxes), there are two other dolls houses which I'm working on before this :-D I think I saved an ebay pic of the interior, which showed some kind of pale green too, I think?

  3. Wonderful to learn about houses I'm not familiar with. I'm thinking Bambolina might be large enough for Barbie and Ken to move in. :) And Laura is adorable!