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Hand puppet owned by child migrant Lily Knapton

Date: c 1909
Overall (On stand): 320 × 85 × 80 mm
Medium: Cotton, plaster, cork, paint
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Gary McPherson
Object Name: Hand puppet
Object No: 00028026

User Terms

    This hand puppet is one of the toys that eight-year-old British child migrant Lily Knapton brought with her to Australia on SS RUNIC in 1909. It would have provided her with entertainment during the long eight week voyage.
    SignificanceThe puppet is representative of toys and amusements used by children on board migrant ships in the early 20th century. It illustrates the personal experience of Lily Knapton, who came to Australia as a child in 1909, and the value of personal possessions during the voyage.
    HistoryThe Immigration Restriction Act 1901 was the first major piece of legislation passed by Australia's new federal parliament. The Act placed certain restrictions on immigration and reflected the government's desire to build a white Australia.

    The government's preference was for immigrants from Britain and it offered cheap fares to attract them to Australia. Many Britons saw emigration as a chance to find work and establish a new life.

    In 1909 eight-year-old Lily Knapton and her mother departed Liverpool on the White Star liner SS RUNIC. They were migrating to Australia to join Lily's father, who was working as a tailor in Melbourne, Victoria. From 1901 to 1930 RUNIC operated a regular migrant service from Liverpool to Sydney.

    Lily brought her favourite toys, clothes and school books with her. She kept them all her life as souvenirs of her former life in Britain and her childhood voyage on SS RUNIC.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Toy hand puppet

    Primary title: Hand puppet owned by child migrant Lily Knapton

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