Monday, January 18, 2016

A Lumberjack dolls house, without doubt!

This was one of the dolls houses waiting for me in Bathurst. I had bought it on ebay, and as it was in Sydney, it made more sense to have it freighted to Bathurst than all the way here to Darwin!

As well as having many similarities to the Lumberjack dolls house I had found in a toy store catalogue in the National Library:

- different coloured shutters (yellow instead of green), but the same front door - it has a label on the side which says Lumberjack BWG Screenprint:

so it's definitely a Lumberjack.

It's wider than the house in that catalogue, with three rooms up and down:

Unlike the house in the catalogue, the upper rooms don't have dormer windows - which will make placing furniture easier!

The interior is painted white - the traces of white on the floors, and the missing bit under the stairs, indicate that this was done by an owner, not in the factory.

A child has also added stickers in many rooms - I'll be keeping them, as they're a reminder of a former owner, and some, like this one on the back of the front door with kangaroos and a koala saying "HI!", are also reminders of the house's Australian origin:

The top left room has a sticker saying "Holidays", with people running with bags:
The top middle room must have been used as a bathroom, as it has a mirror and a towel rail attached to the walls:
The top right room has three stickers, including one of a lovely orange and white tabby cat:

This room has the opening to the stairs in it. The stairs are missing a couple of treads, but it shouldn't be too hard to replace them:
(That sticker says "Don't Forget:", with a pink space to write what you're not supposed to forget!)

Here's the bottom middle room, with the front door again:

And the bottom left room:

The sticker here has an Easter egg and a chick.

I haven't furnished this house yet, just cleaned it and photographed it. I'm thinking I might use my Europa furniture in it - I'll see.

Last year I found some more information about Lumberjack in issues of the Australian toy trade journal, the Australasian Sportsgoods and Toy Retailer, from the late 1970s. Here's a full page ad from the October 1976 issue:

which gives the address then for the "Lumberjack Toy & Gift Company" as 13 Hills Street, Gosford, NSW 2250. It shows a couple of other items made by Lumberjack - a service station with carwash, and a magnetic chalk/paint board.

Here's a close up of the dolls house:

Like mine, it has three rooms across - but unlike mine, it has both dormer windows upstairs, and an inbuilt garage on one side of the ground floor, with a "fully operative tilting door". It's described as 12th scale, 28" x 18" x 18". I measured the rooms in my Lumberjack as 21cm (8 ¼") wide, 31 cm (12 ¼") deep and 19 cm (7 ½") high. So 12th scale furniture would work - I think I'll try out the vintage 16th scale Europa anyway, and see how it looks.

This ad mentions printed carpet, lino and stained floors in the bottom storey, so it does seem that they were sold with undecorated walls and upper floors and ceilings. Here's another Lumberjack I saw on ebay, which has not been painted inside:

Photos © ebay seller untide1

Another three bay model, with dormer windows but without a garage, and with the front door on one side, rather than in the middle. (It seems to have been given carpet upstairs.)

In 1979, Lumberjack had a stand at the Toys and Games Manufacturers of Australia fair, where they displayed three dolls houses:

The caption reads: "Lumberjack: Popular wooden toys including dolls houses with much interest in the limited edition 2-story colonial dolls house; chalk boards; garages; block wagons and blocks; cradles; nursery furniture; playcastle and playfort; stilts; billiard table; games table; table tennis table, dartboard cabinets, etc. Number of new releases inc. a Car Yard and Roadhouse in WOODY WOODPECKER items; Space Station with space buildings; Cape Cod house and single storey Colonial house." (I don't see a single storey dolls house in the photo, unless they mean the one on the right with dormer windows and rooms under the roof?)

Another photo shows a closeup of the limited edition colonial dolls house, with two people from Lumberjack: Frank Marsh on the left, and Don Windus standing on the right. (Seated on the right is John Bassingthwaighte, who had a sports and toy store in Dubbo.) (I think that, in the photo of the whole stand above, Don Windus is seated on the left, and Frank Marsh on the right.)

Late last year, I had a comment on my blog post about my possible Lumberjack dolls house from Adrian Windus, Don's brother, who said:

"The Toyworld dolls house was made by Lumberjack Toys in Gosford NSW. The company was owned by a Don and Del Windus. They were sold to toy shops in Qld, NSW and Victoria. This I know as I'm a brother to Don, I also owned Lumberjack Toy Wholesales in 1976 selling Don's products. Hope this enlightens you a little. Adrian Windus"

Wonderful information, as the photo caption doesn't say what Frank Marsh or Don Windus' roles at Lumberjack were.

I had found other information online, suggesting that Lumberjack later moved, and changed hands. A company called Lumberjack-Bestoys was registered with the address 25 Engadine Crt, Engadine, NSW 2233. The websites which hold that information don't give dates, but Lumberjack bought Bestoys at the end of 1984, so that address probably dates to 1984 or 85. Did Don Windus still own Lumberjack then? I don't know - I hope to find out more from Adrian or Don Windus, sometime.
Then later there's another company name and address: Lumberjack Toys Pty Ltd at The Old Cheese Factory, Hoddle Street, Robertson, NSW 2577.  The name associated with that company is Allan Jackson, who was a carpenter.
So it seems likely that Don Windus sold Lumberjack at some point, whether directly to Allan Jackson or to someone else in Engadine who then sold it on again later. Perhaps it was a later owner who made the other dolls house I have, which has the same front door, the same yellow window shutters, and the same screen-printed brick front wall as this labelled Lumberjack house, but which is otherwise made of polished pine, with a plain hardboard back? 



  1. Hello Rebecca,
    that was a great fin. It is a beautifully made house.
    Big hug

    1. Hello Giac, Thanks for visiting, and happy New Year!

  2. Great Post, I was not familiar with Lumberjack dollhouses.

    1. Hi Troy, thanks for visiting! I don't think Lumberjack dolls houses (or other toys) are very well known even in Australia. I'm happy to have one!

  3. Hi Rebecca. What a sweet little house, I had to smile as I read that you were leaving the child stickers in situ...I think they are charming, particularly the one on the back of the front door! My knowledge of Lumberjack dolls houses only amounts to what I have read on your blog, so thank you for this, is extremely interesting. I rather like the look of the Colonial House in the black and white photos, but what are the chances of ever coming across one, as I noticed it states that they were a limited edition? Celia