Change text:SmallerReset textLarger
This project was funded by the Australian Research Council, Museum Victoria and the National Library of Australia.

About this Project

Childhood, Tradition and Change is a nation-wide study that documents and analyses the historical development of Australian children's playlore over a fifty year period. Funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage Project Scheme (LP0663282), with support from the University of Melbourne, Deakin University, Curtin University of Technology, the National Library of Australia and Museum Victoria, research for the project was carried out over four years (2007-2010). Data collection was completed in 2010 and the investigators are now analysing the material in order to produce the first comprehensive national study of continuity and change in children's playlore from the 1950s to the present.

A team of experienced fieldworkers travelled to primary schools in every Australian state and territory to collect material that forms the basis of a new archive of Australian children's folklore, to be held in either the National Library of Australia or Museum Victoria. A diverse range of materials, which includes aural, visual, object-based, textual and archival resources has been assembled for analysis. Selected text based summaries of games and images can be accessed via this website. Aural, video and picture resources are only available from the National Library of Australia and Museum Victoria under conditions of access applied by the parents of the children who appear. Anyone interested in viewing these resources should contact the repositories directly.

As well as enhancing the internationally significant Australian folklore collections at the National Library of Australia and Museum Victoria, project outcomes so far have included book chapters, articles, conference papers, thus providing a major contribution to international playlore and cultural heritage studies, and to Australian histories of childhood. A book is being written that draws upon the various research strengths of the internationally renowned team of scholars. It is expected that data collected as part of this project will provide research evidence to assist the Australian Government and UNESCO in identifying significant intangible cultural heritage in Australia, in accordance with the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Memory of the World Programme.


To learn more, please contact the Chief Investigator, Professor Kate Darian-Smith.