ECU Museum of Childhood Collection

Collection Highlights | Updated 10 years ago

A small girl feeding a kangaroo
'Girlie' Rath feeding a kangaroo outside her home on the Harvey Irrigation Scheme, c1920
Image from ECU Museum of Childhood Collection

This nationally significant collection of 24,000 items is reflective of Western Australian childhood in all its diversity.

The collection was donated to the WA Museum in 2009 by Edith Cowan University. It contains toys and games of children’s play, child rearing and schooling items, costume, books and items that are reflective of home life in Western Australia.

The collection is representative of children’s lives through different periods, environments, socio-economic circumstances and culturally diverse backgrounds. It contains several collections that are immensely significant in their own right, most notably the Riley Family Collection. This near complete collection of 150 toys belonged to the six children (b.1887-97) of Perth’s first Anglican Archbishop, the Rev C O Riley. It is one of the most complete holdings of a single family collection of toys in Australia and is of national significance.

The ECU Museum of Childhood Collection is also noted for its diverse range of improvised items: toys, clothes, school equipment and other childhood items home-made due to economic hardship, isolation, wartime austerity and emergency or for pleasure.

History Department collection