Once a big Maitland Show favourite the Kewpie doll has made a comeback

HELLO DOLLY: Kylie Richards of Campbell's Store, Morpeth with some of the Kewpie dolls that are making a come back at showtime.
HELLO DOLLY: Kylie Richards of Campbell's Store, Morpeth with some of the Kewpie dolls that are making a come back at showtime.

There’s a feeling of nostalgia sweeping across Maitland at the moment and it has something to do with the upcoming Maitland Show and Campbell’s Store, Morpeth.

It was always a show highlight for Maitland kids growing up in the 60s, 70s and 80s to come home armed with a show bag and for the girls, a Kewpie doll.

While the show bags are still just as popular, the Kewpie dolls, with their big eyes and colourful tulle skirts, seemed to die a slow death.

They are now back bigger and better than ever.

Kylie Richards of Campbell’s Store, said Kewpies are ‘alive’ and well and with Maitland Show about to kick off next Friday, the timing is right for the dolls’ relaunch.

Kylie has been writing for the magazine Antiques and Collectables for Pleasure and Profit and in her latest story she has touched on the history of Maitland Show and the many fond memories people have of Kewpie dolls and show bags.

Hunter River Agricultural and Horticultural Association started the show in 1861.

The association itself is believed to be the oldest continuing regional agricultural association in Australia.

This year’s show will run from Friday, February 16 to Sunday, February 18.

Kylie said Kewpie dolls are particularly collectable and are among some of the best sellers at Campbell’s Store.

“I thought it was timely that the show was in town and I was writing about Kewpie dolls for the magazine.

“The dolls are a massive part of the Maitland Show. I’m not sure if you can still buy the dolls at local shows anymore but they have made a comeback.

“Apparently the dolls were quite expensive and were a rare treat for children back in the day. Most little girls were lucky enough to come home from the show with a Kewpie on a stick. The dolls had the big eyes and a tulle skirt.”

Kylie explained that the Kewpie is a brand of dolls and figurines that were conceived as comic strip characters by cartoonist Rose O'Neill. They began to gain popularity after the publication of O'Neill's comic strips in 1909.

She said owner of Sydney novelty business The Original Kewpie Co, James Faiella, has relaunched the original Kewpie doll on a stick.

In her story, in the latest edition of Antiques and Collectables, Kylie also talks about collectable drinking glasses that companies like ETA, Cottees and Kraft packaged their spreads and jams in during the 1940s and 50s.

“They are also really collectable and were decorated with designs appealing to children. When they were empty they could be used as drinking glasses or containers. Their popularity slowly died as the Tupperware trend emerged,” Kylie said.

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