I found lots of ads or displays at fairs for dolls houses made both overseas (I'll show some of the them in another post) and in Australia - I now have several new names of dolls house makers, and have identified the makers of some of my new dolls houses.
This is one of the houses I have in Bathurst - I bought it on ebay from Sydney late last year, and the seller was happy to post it. I bought it because some features reminded me of other houses - though now I can't remember which, or by which maker.
Well, never mind - I now know that it was made by Woodtoys in 1977. You may remember that I bought a house nearly two years ago that is a dead spit for a Bodo Hennig model (1979-1987), but which has the name Woodtoys on the brick paper on the back of the house.
In the toy trade journal, I found information about Woodtoys dolls houses in 1975, 1976 and 1977.
"The four toys shown in the accompanying photo are the work of Woodtoys, PO Box 64, Lakemba, NSW 2195, which is a partnership of father and son, I J and A T Burden. Father is a former departmental buyer and the son is a former 'Knight Of The Road' with a large general toy wholesaler.
The Burdens make no apologies for the fact that they are in a modest way, and they have had some ups and downs. "In fact," says young Burden, "the respect we have for fellows like Jim Bonaretti [of Bestoys - RG] and, in the past, Keith Lovelock, has increased tenfold - paint dust in everything, no room to move; shoving equipment around to make room for something else; returns from customers through carriers' rough handling. I could go on for hours!"
However, the trauma has passed and now the duo operate in about 3,500 ft. of space, which still is not enough but is a big improvement on the original area. They now do all their own work since the installation of a table saw, band saw, docking saw, sander and other units and employ labour.
The items illustrated show a Georgian style Dolls' house, a pony rockaway, dolls cradle and a table and chair set. They propose several new lines in 1976 including a traditional type rocking horse on a stand similar to the one put out years ago by Roebuck."
Australasian Sportsgoods and Toy Retailer, December 1975, p 62.
Woodtoys' 1976 display at the toy fair shows the same Georgian-style dolls house, which seems to be painted in a range of colours. The caption reads:
"Woodtoys, Lakemba, NSW, displayed Georgian-style dolls houses, pony rocker, toy tidy; dolls wardrobe, rocking cradle, Ampol service station; kitchen dresser; table and chair set; rocking horse and box of blocks. Pictured is proprietor Ian Burden."
Australasian Sportsgoods and Toy Retailer, March 1976.
In 1977, there are photos of Woodtoys' displays at both the Sydney and Melbourne toy fairs, so we get several views of their new dolls house.
Yes! It's my new dolls house! Can you see the canopy over the downstairs window, and the poles supporting the roof of the carport?
The caption says:
"Australian-made range of wooden toys, including coloured table and chair set, a toy tidy which makes into a desk, pony rocker, dolls house, cradle, dropside cot, Mickey Mouse and Abba table and chair sets. All toys come unassembled and are individually cartoned with assembly instructions ... they are all NEW. Most popular item on display was the Deluxe Rocking Horse."
Australasian Sportsgoods and Toy Retailer, April 1977.
I can't read all the writing on the sign, but I can see that the address for Woodtoys is now Greenacre, NSW, a suburb next to Lakemba - so perhaps the Burdens had moved to new premises with more space.
Detail of the house from the photo above - it's on the right, in the centre.
Australasian Sportsgoods and Toy Retailer, July 1977.
The photos of the display at the Melbourne toy fair show the dolls house end-on - and it's a very distinctive view, with a doorway from the rooftop patio to the house cut out of the end wall of the house:
The other Woodtoys dolls house I have has printed paper wallpaper, brick paper and flooring. This dolls house has the wall and floor designs printed straight on to the plywood.
Note the fabric "hinge" which attaches the front door to the wall.
The interior, showing the floors.
Parquet tiling downstairs and hexagonal tiling upstairs.
A geometric design upstairs, and a blue houndstooth design downstairs.
Simple red tiling for the rooftop patio, and in the carport, grass around the edges, gravel in the centre, and clear plywood for the driveway and the parking space.
This house is 16th scale. I haven't furnished it yet - I will look out some of my 16th scale pieces to take down next time I go to Bathurst.