A small toy shop chain from Queensland, Australia that is all but forgotten – “Toy & Novelty” had three locations in the mid 1980s.
Here’s a little TV commercial that will make you want to take the nearest DeLorean back to 1985.
I remember visiting a few toy and hobby shops while on holidays in Queensland with my family, back in the late 1980s. In particular I remember begging to be taken to a train shop called The Train Place located in Beenleigh. It was a privately owned train layout (and adjacent store) located in a large shed, that was open to the public. It may even still exist which is great to see.
But with the well-documented decline in toy retailing over the past 20 years – the combination of so-called “category killers” entering the toy market in the 1990s (huge toy supermarkets staffed by bored teens – you know who they are), and later the emergence of the internet, there are now very few independent toy retailers around.
One such place that apparently used to exist (although I never had the chance to visit it) was called Toy & Novelty, and had stores in the suburbs of Chermside, Annerley and Kingston in Queensland. Someone actually mentioned Toy & Novelty in the comments section of a previous article I wrote. And when my deep trawling of old TV commercials uncovered an actual TV ad for the place, it turned out they were right – it seems to have been a quintessential “small Australian toy shop” of the 1980s.
Googling for this store turns up absolutely nothing – zilch. Not even a mention in some long defunct local classifieds listing. Which suggests it may have even closed up before the mid 1990s when store directories began to be dumped online. So this little commercial may be all that’s left of Toy & Novelty’s existence in the world.
From vintage Transformers (and vintage hair)…
To vintage Lego…
To vintage Matchbox cars…
And even R/C cars (a Yonezawa Land Dash and a Shinsei 4Trax can be seen sitting on the floor)…
I can also see loads of model kits, model train carriages, “Days Gone” models, and other things. Pretty much a bit of everything. Toy & Novelty appears to have stocked a great mix of toys, hobbies and party supplies (as was often the case with little stores). And it even had that sort of densely-packed feel that you only ever got from little toy stores, where you could look around for ages and still find new things.
Certainly seems like a place I would have loved to visit. I wonder if anyone else remembers it?
Oh yes, I remember, and fondly. Very fondly. I lived only a few km’s away. Don’t know how many times I went to the Chermside store, didn’t always get something though! They had trampolines in the front corner (Gympir Rd & Kuran St) and I vividly remember kids jumping on them. From memory they had a 2nd building that was more craft orientated. Back then these sheds would have seemed gigantic to a small child.
A then I see the Lego in those little boxes. I felt a small part inside my heart just melt.
Love it when you find these gems!
Anyone ever seen ads nowadays for toys shops with RC models and such on tv anymore? I mean besides Toyworld.
I recently moved to Central Queensland (Yeppoon) and a hobby shop in Rockhampton actually has ads on tv. The ad features the store and their nearby indoor rc track (carpet) and outdoor crawling course.
You’d never see an ad for a hobby shop in Brisbane.