Crater Critters, 1968 - 1972. L-R Curly, Kindly, Clever, Kingly, Crawly, Cranky, Creepy, Kooky. Collection of Barry Divola. Photo (c) Jamie North for Sydney Living Museums

A cereal collector

Barry Divola is a journalist, music critic, and author based in Sydney. He has written for Rolling Stone, Who magazine and Sydney Morning Herald to name just a few and has also written a range of books for adults and children, including Nineteen Seventy Something a collection of short stories set in the 1970s. 

He is also a collector of 70’s cereal box toys.

A chance encounter as an adult with the brightly coloured cereal box toys of his childhood re-ignited Barry’s passion for the inch high toys. He was hit with a ‘nostalgia bazooka’ and suddenly the search was on! For Barry this meant reliving childhood dreams. No garage sale was too small, no lead too far, as he stalked through the garages and market places of Sydney in the hunt for his ultimate prize – Kingly Critter, a small alien monarch topped with a tiny spindly crown.

Melbourne based company Rosenhain and Lipmann (R&L) produced approximately one billion plastic cereal toys between 1959 and 1977. Cartoonist Harry Hargreaves designed some of the figures which were sorted into dozens of imaginative and quirky collectable sets. Some of the more popular included the Tooly Birds, Totem Tribe and Camel Train – but for Barry his favourite were the Crater Critters, a set of eight alien creatures ruled by Kingly who reigned over the lunar landscape. His decade long search for this elusive monarch and the collectors he met along the way is documented in his book Searching for Kingly Critter.

Barry loaned parts of his collection for the exhibition Toys Through Time. Watch his interview to find out more about his collection and his desire to rediscover and own these unusual toys.

 

 

 

My mother probably threw [the cereal box toys] out when I was 15 and guitars and girls and life took over … I saw them again and I thought, ‘That just takes me back; I have to have them again’

Barry Divola, 2015

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