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Memorializing Australian Childhoods: From the Frontier to the Museum


Darian-Smith, Kate, Memorializing Australian Childhoods: From the Frontier to the Museum, Children, Childhood and Youth in the British World, Palgrave Macmillan, S. Robinson and S. Sleight (ed), Basingstoke, pp. 271-289. ISBN 978-1-137-48940-1 (2016) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Selection, introduction and editorial matter, Shirleene Robinson and Simon Sleight; individual chapters, respective authors

DOI: doi:10.1007/978-1-137-48941-8_16


In the early 1940s, Felicity Clemons, the wife of a Tasmanian doctor, embarked on the task of ‘improving’ a small dolls’ house her daughter had received as a gift. This endeavour spanned four decades, and revealed Clemons’ interest in colonial history. The daughter of Sir Geoffrey Syme, managing director of the Age newspaper, Clemons had grown up in Melbourne and had exhibited at the Arts and Crafts Society of Victoria.1 She directed her artistic skills to her Georgian dolls’ house, Pendle Hall, which gradually acquired 21 rooms over four storeys. Its elaborate interiors were arranged with finely wrought period furniture, and hundreds of tiny, handmade objects: foodstuffs, ornaments, books and other household items. By the 1970s, Clemons was operating a private museum in a restored colonial building in Westbury, widely known as Tasmania’s ‘most English’ town. On display were her collection of children’s toys and other memorabilia, with Pendle Hall as the centrepiece. A local tourist attraction for many years, and well known to doll’s house enthusiasts around the world, Pendle Hall was recently donated to Museum Victoria, and its rooms and their contents can now be viewed by the public online.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Australian history
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
UTAS Author:Darian-Smith, Kate (Professor Kate Darian-Smith)
ID Code:123398
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:College Office - CALE
Deposited On:2018-01-04
Last Modified:2018-02-01

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