6 min read

Playing house

Playing house
Operating out of her home studio located in the aptly named Fairy Meadow , Lorraine Robinson is one of Australia’s largest suppliers of the smallest things. Photography Pip Farquharson.
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Who says dolls are for children? In subverting ideas about adult play, a former paramedic has become one of the nation’s biggest suppliers of the smallest things.

WHEN she was a child, Lorraine Robinson couldn’t wait to grow up. She wanted to wear high heels and short skirts and carry a lipstick in her handbag. When she turned 13, she knew she was making good progress: now, she was a big girl. 

“Big girls caught the bus to school and went into town by themselves,” she remembers thinking. “Big girls don’t play with dolls.” So she gave her dolls away.

As she’s telling me this over Zoom, two large eyes peer at me from a shelf above her shoulder. They belong to one of the 50 dolls that Robinson, now a middle-aged woman and mother to three grown daughters, has in her collection. 

“I was so eager to be an adult, but then I got here,” she laughs. “And I looked around and thought, ‘Well, this is a bit boring, isn’t it?’”

Robinson might not look like a radical, with her hair in a neat bob and the username “Ducky” displayed on the screen, but she’s actually doing something that subverts the idea of how women are supposed to be.

Robinson plays. She plays with dolls and doll houses with the enthusiasm of a child, completely free from embarrassment and self-consciousness.

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