Sunday, November 18, 2012

Memories of long ago.
Mothers in particular have a habit of collecting memorabillia that pertains to their children. Books, toys and other sentimental items are often stashed away for their own memories or for future passing on to their children.
My mother has been slowly dribbling items over to me when she sees me. Items such as photos, favourite toys (Didn't know you still had that Mum).
There are often times when you wish you still had childhood items just to take a jog down memory lane. Certains items can then be put in front of your own children for them to laugh at or feel sorry for you.
Todays offerings are a far cry from the toys a lot of us grew up with. Where did you shove the battery Dad?
A recent hand me down from my mother was an old Walther and Stevenson toy catalogue that she had obviously kept for over 40 years.  Walther and Stevensons were a toy shop in Sydney which closed in the early 70's. There were other 'toy shops' such as Searles, Levensons and Hobbyco which is the only survivor today.
When I searched the internet this interesting site had also recollections of Walther and Stevensons and the other shops mentioned above.
 When visiting these stores it was always to the train section first. As the years rolled by it went from the Hornby Clockwork trains to the Hornby 3 rail electric and then to Tri-ang trains which was my first electric train.
While writing this my memory goes back to a local chemist shop that for some reason had a Hornby 3 rail small layout in the shop. As it was just up the road I spent a lot of time there. Originally looking at it from the front, the chemist must of felt sorry for me and let me round the back of the layout as an operator.
I think the Hornby Dublo trains were more expensive than the equivalent Tri-ang and a kid that used to live in a big house behind ours became a best friend when I found out he had a Hornby Dublo train set.
Another school mate had a Marklin train set that were even more expensive than the Hornby Dublo. He was never as keen as I was and I had fun making reverse loops with both types of three rail set ups. I didn't at that time understand the problems that lay ahead when I tried to make a similar track configuration with two rail track that didn't work.
Way back then we still used to get junk mail delivered but the only difference with the old was that train sets figured prominately in them. This I am sure helped the hobby exist longer then. It should be interesting as we creep up to the 50th anniversary of the AMRM magazine to reflect back on how the hobby has changed in that seemingly short time frame.
I would like to share a few pages I have scanned from the catalogue so you can see what us old farts used to have. It seems so ironic that we can now whinge and scream that our models of today have a few errors or parts not modelled etc. etc.
Anyhow here they are:





alther & Stevenson were established in Hunter Street, Sydney, in 1900, making saddles and harnesses. The firm moved to 395 George Street in 1904 and remained there until they closed about 65 years later. Their usual arrangement with rural customers was by mail order and numerous requests were made for toys suitable for children's Christmas presents. This encouraged the company to open a small toy department in 1930. At this time they mainly stocked German-made toys. In 1935, a Mr A. Anderson became a director of the firm and the stock of toys increased. By the late 1930s the basement area was full of model trains, farm animals, toy soldiers and working steam engine models. After the director's son Kenneth Anderson took over the firm, the saddlery line was removed altogether and toys occupied both floors of the store. During the Second World War, when access to British and European toys was curtailed, Australian toy manufacturing flourished and many locally made items were sold in Walther & Stevenson's store including Australian-style timber farm buildings and accessories. From the 1960s versatile moulded plastics began to be used in toys instead of metal and timber. Japanese tin toys, as well as a large number of imported British and American toys forced local manufacturers out of business. Walther & Stevenson failed to move quickly enough with the times and had to close in about 1970.

Read more: http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=379852#ixzz2CY0GXMhS
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial
Walther & Stevenson were established in Hunter Street, Sydney, in 1900, making saddles and harnesses. The firm moved to 395 George Street in 1904 and remained there until they closed about 65 years later. Their usual arrangement with rural customers was by mail order and numerous requests were made for toys suitable for children's Christmas presents. This encouraged the company to open a small toy department in 1930. At this time they mainly stocked German-made toys. In 1935, a Mr A. Anderson became a director of the firm and the stock of toys increased. By the late 1930s the basement area was full of model trains, farm animals, toy soldiers and working steam engine models. After the director's son Kenneth Anderson took over the firm, the saddlery line was removed altogether and toys occupied both floors of the store. During the Second World War, when access to British and European toys was curtailed, Australian toy manufacturing flourished and many locally made items were sold in Walther & Stevenson's store including Australian-style timber farm buildings and accessories. From the 1960s versatile moulded plastics began to be used in toys instead of metal and timber. Japanese tin toys, as well as a large number of imported British and American toys forced local manufacturers out of business. Walther & Stevenson failed to move quickly enough with the times and had to close in about 1970.

Read more: http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=379852#ixzz2CXzdHEYO
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial

Any one having a memory lane trip??
Walther & Stevenson were established in Hunter Street, Sydney, in 1900, making saddles and harnesses. The firm moved to 395 George Street in 1904 and remained there until they closed about 65 years later. Their usual arrangement with rural customers was by mail order and numerous requests were made for toys suitable for children's Christmas presents. This encouraged the company to open a small toy department in 1930. At this time they mainly stocked German-made toys. In 1935, a Mr A. Anderson became a director of the firm and the stock of toys increased. By the late 1930s the basement area was full of model trains, farm animals, toy soldiers and working steam engine models. After the director's son Kenneth Anderson took over the firm, the saddlery line was removed altogether and toys occupied both floors of the store. During the Second World War, when access to British and European toys was curtailed, Australian toy manufacturing flourished and many locally made items were sold in Walther & Stevenson's store including Australian-style timber farm buildings and accessories. From the 1960s versatile moulded plastics began to be used in toys instead of metal and timber. Japanese tin toys, as well as a large number of imported British and American toys forced local manufacturers out of business. Walther & Stevenson failed to move quickly enough with the times and had to close in about 1970.

Read more: http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=379852#ixzz2CY0GXMhS
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial
Walther & Stevenson were established in Hunter Street, Sydney, in 1900, making saddles and harnesses. The firm moved to 395 George Street in 1904 and remained there until they closed about 65 years later. Their usual arrangement with rural customers was by mail order and numerous requests were made for toys suitable for children's Christmas presents. This encouraged the company to open a small toy department in 1930. At this time they mainly stocked German-made toys. In 1935, a Mr A. Anderson became a director of the firm and the stock of toys increased. By the late 1930s the basement area was full of model trains, farm animals, toy soldiers and working steam engine models. After the director's son Kenneth Anderson took over the firm, the saddlery line was removed altogether and toys occupied both floors of the store. During the Second World War, when access to British and European toys was curtailed, Australian toy manufacturing flourished and many locally made items were sold in Walther & Stevenson's store including Australian-style timber farm buildings and accessories. From the 1960s versatile moulded plastics began to be used in toys instead of metal and timber. Japanese tin toys, as well as a large number of imported British and American toys forced local manufacturers out of business. Walther & Stevenson failed to move quickly enough with the times and had to close in about 1970.

Read more: http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=379852#ixzz2CXzdHEYO
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial


3 comments:

  1. Bob
    I was glad to join you on that walk down memory lane. I remember each of those toy/hobby shops but not the catalogue in question, the only one I can remember was the Hobbyco one which usually ended up dog eared.

    Ray P

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  2. Bob,
    Oh how I fondly remembed those shops. As a young puppy I worked in the city and regularly made a visit to all of them at some stage during my lunch breaks. I seem to remember another shop called Fisher's Chemist (or something like that). It was directly opposite the Sydney Town Hall.
    I think it's great to reminisce over earlier times, and to look how far we've progressed.

    Allan Brown

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  3. I am delighted to find your blog post! I collect vintage dolls houses, & Walther & Stevenson sold Australian-made model buildings, dolls houses and dolls house furniture. I have two Walther & Stevenson catalogues, from different years, and I've scanned some pages of each: http://www.flickr.com/photos/39495180@N07/tags/waltherstevenson/ Would it be possible for you to scan any pages in your catalogue that show dolls houses etc? I can let you have my email address if that would work better for you than uploading them. Best wishes, Rebecca

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