Sunday, October 28, 2012

Our Australian Girl book series

We are going to take a trip down under, to the great continent of Australia. So first we had A British Child books and dolls, then we had Our Canadian Girl. Seems like the brand names are similar, so I just started searching "_ girl doll", plugging in different countries to see what I could find. When it came to Australia, I found the Australian Girl doll line, a line of 18" play dolls, but they are all modern.
For those who are interested, you can meet the girls of that line here, but I prefer dolls that are based with some kind of historical background. After a little more research, I came across Our Australian Girl.

The book line tells the stories of six different characters, starting from the year 1808. Each girl has four books in her series, here are the character and book descriptions for each one:

It's 1808 and young, orphaned Grace is living in London with her Uncle Ord. Families are starving on the streets, sanitation is poor and jails are overflowing. Uncle Ord is mean to Grace and they have no money. Grace, who is always lonely and hungry, has to work as a 'mudlark,' searching the muddy bed of the Thames River for objects to sell. After stealing apples, Grace is arrested and transported to Australia as punishment. On board the ship Grace makes a friend, Hannah.
Grace's story is an example of the way Australia could mean a new beginning and is told in four exciting instalments.
 It's 1841 and Letty is farewelling Lavinia, her older sister who is embarking on a long sea voyage to Australia. There's a mix-up and Letty stays on board and finds herself setting sail for NSW as well. Lavinia doesn't want her little sister on the ship and Letty's frightened - what will become of her?
During this period of history, Britain sent fewer convicts to Australia but also paid people like Lavinia to come as free settlers. In four years, from 1838 - 1841, 40,000 men, women and children emigrated to NSW. Letty's adventures, which unfold in four exciting installments, is the imagined story of one of them.
It's 1849 and Nellie is arriving in Port Adelaide after a long journey by ship from Ireland. Nellie – along with her best friend, Mary – is full of dreams for a new life free from poverty and disease. In South Australia, she hopes to get a job, to learn to read and never to go hungry again. Over 4000 girls like Nellie took part in the Orphan Immigration Scheme, which transported suitable orphans from the workhouses of famine-devastated Ireland to be domestic servants in the colonies. Nellie battles the prejudice and limited opportunities that caused the scheme to end after only two years – and yet she never loses hope. Will her dreams of a better life ever come true?
Nellie's story, told in four gripping installments, celebrates the optimism, courage and character that our Irish ancestors have brought to this country.
 It's 1864 and Poppy lives at a mission near Echuca in Victoria. Of Indigenous and Chinese heritage, Poppy hates the mission, especially once her brother Gus runs away to pan for gold. Many indigenous children were taken from their parents and placed in missions where they were trained in household chores and as farm hands before being adopted by white families. During the 1850s and 60s, more than a third of the world's gold was found in Victoria and this attracted many people from all over the world.
Poppy runs away to look for Gus but how will she survive in the bush? And will she ever find Gus? Poppy's story, told in four gripping installments, is a glimpse into life at that time.
 It's 1900 and Rose lives with her family in a big house in Melbourne. She wants to play cricket and have adventures but Rose's ultra-conservative mother won't let her. Then young Aunt Alice, a feisty suffragette, moves in with them and everything changes.
In 1900, life was very restrictive for women. In most parts of Australia, women weren't allowed to vote, few got the chance to go to university and it was difficult for women to have careers of their own. Girls like Rose and women like Alice had to fight for the rights they felt entitled to. Rose's story, told in four exciting installments, shows how rebelliousness and courage brought about change, making it possible for Australian girls today to have so many choices.
 It's 1918 and Alice, a young ballerina, lives with her big family on the banks of the Swan River in Perth. Her father is off fighting in World War One and her mother has a job at a bank. Alice is left in charge, juggling her love of dance with the care of her brothers and sisters. Like so many young men of the time, her big brother, Teddy, faces growing pressure from the town to fulfil his duty and enlist in the army, but has promised Alice that he will stay. As the war drags on, Alice is drawn deeper into the drama it causes for those left behind to keep the home fires burning. Will life ever return to normal, and will Alice ever get to do the thing she loves most?
Told in four exciting installments, Alice' story shows the impact of the Great War, which touched every Australian home and family, changing lives and communities forever.

There are two more characters in the works: Ruby, a city girl who has to move to the country because of the Depression in 1930 and Lina, an Italian girl living during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. I wish that they had a character from one of the indigenous groups living either before the colonization time, like Kaya in the American Girl series. Add a little diversity, ya' know?



  1. I went on their website out of pure curiosity. Do they have dolls that match the books?

  2. To my knowledge, they do not have a doll line, which works for me as I like the uniformity of having only American Girl dolls in my collection. With book lines such as these, I plan on using AG dolls to make custom dolls with accompanying clothing and accessories!