Child’s tricycle horse and cart – a willingness to play

No. 29

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This delightful child’s tricycle horse was manufactured in England. It belonged to Minnie Alice, daughter of John Lord – a well-known Hobart businessman. The Lords lived in Macquarie Street, Hobart, and on fine days Minnie would ride the tricycle around nearby Franklin Square.

From the beginning of civilisation, the horse has retained a special place in the imagination of children. From the 16th century, static models of horses developed into pull-along nursery toys. They also took the form of rocking horses and hobby horses, upon which children could pretend to ride.

In the 1850s, a new version of the nursery horse – with wheels and, in some cases, pedals – came onto the market. The cart sections on earlier models had spoked wooden wheels, just like their full-sized counterparts. By the end of the 19th century, cheaper models were being made with wheels of iron. The pedals of this particular toy do more than move it along; they also make the legs of the horse appear to trot.

Play is an important developmental activity for children everywhere. But it is much more than simply a child’s activity. Without play, and a playful attitude, individuals and cultures stagnate and fail. If there was one central tenet to the shaping of Tasmania, it should be a willingness to play!

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