About this objectThis wooden rocking horse was given by Blanche Gorrie (nee Buckland) to her granddaughter, Lesley Buckland Gorrie, as a birthday present. The family fondly nicknamed the rocking horse, Doctor Dorret.
Rocking horses have been in existence since the 17th century, and continue to be a popular children’s toy. It was believed that the to-and-fro movement of a rocking horse helped to teach a child about the principles of movement and balance. (1)
Blanche Gorrie was the daughter of Alfred Buckland, one of Auckland largest landowners and most successful agricultural businessmen. As a young girl from a farming family, Blanche would have learnt how to ride a horse at a young age. Later in life, Blanche and her family were members of the Pakuranga Hunt Club, which is New Zealand oldest hunting club. (2) Thus, it seems inevitable that Blanche would consider a rocking horse an enjoyable toy for her grandchildren to play with.
(1) Museum of Childhood, ‘Mechanical and Moving Toys,’ URL: www.museumofchildhood.org.uk
(2) Margaret McClure, ‘Auckland places – East Auckland’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, URL: www.teara.govt.nz/en/auckland-places/page-15; Auckland Star, ‘Pakuranga Hunt Club,’ 9 October 1899, p. 2.
For more information about the Buckland family and Highwic, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.
Medium and MaterialsWood, skin, leather, horsehair, glass and leather
Measurements81 x 129.5 x 40cm
Subject and Association KeywordsGirlhood
Credit LineCollection of Highwic, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga