History SA's museums all have a collection of toys, documenting different aspects of childhood play. These collections include traditional dolls, teddy bears, toy trains, boats, blocks, model cars and tricycles. Often collected for the stories they tell of the children who owned them, other toys in the collection are iconic objects or collectable pieces in their own right. 


Children's toys provide an insight into childhood, play and how attitudes towards children have changed over time. Many also reflect the technology and interests of the time in which they were created.

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Image: brown and green tin toy train
Train given to ten year old Ernst Urban for his birthday, 1939.
Courtesy of/Photographer:Luke Simon

Migration Museum Collection. Toy train, HT 2009.1621 a-c

Image: worn teddy bear with stuffing showing
Teddy bear used as a prop in the 'Those were the Days' Exhibition at John Martins store, Adelaide, 1986.

Migration Museum Collection. HT 87.644, Photograph by Luke Simon

Image: worn teddy bear with stuffing showing

Teddy Bear

A well-worn teddy who's not afraid to show the stuff he's made of. 

Image: toy boat made of metal and painted red, blue and cream

Toy Boat

Model - Speed Boat with Motor.

Image: brown and green tin toy train

Toy Train

A collectable toy with a moving story.

Image: Red metal bike with three wheels


Tricycle, painted red and white.

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