Deanne Edwards with the golliwogs she sells at her Prestige Flowers and Gifts store on the Esplanade at Urangan.
Deanne Edwards with the golliwogs she sells at her Prestige Flowers and Gifts store on the Esplanade at Urangan. Alistair Brightman

Florist blanches at golliwog fury

GOLLY gosh!

Who would've thought one little doll could cause such a stir?

A Hervey Bay florist has shot to international fame because she is selling golliwogs.

After being named in a national newspaper article, Deanne Edwards from Prestige Flowers in Urangan has been bombarded with requests for radio and television interviews from around the country.

The touchy topic has even travelled overseas and appeared on the United Kingdom's Daily Mail website.

When the story broke, it suggested that the resurgence of the black dolls, which vanished from shelves after being labelled as racist, was somehow damaging to race relations in Australia.

But Ms Edwards says that is just a storm in a teacup.

She sells golliwogs simply because she had them when she was a child and they bring back fond memories.

"I had one and my mum had one," the mother of four said.

"My children have them and they are just beautiful dolls.

"My family and I don't have a prejudiced bone in our bodies."

Ms Edwards said the golliwogs, which had recently been re-branded with more politically correct names like scallywags or golly girls, were walking off her shelves at a rate of about 20 each week.

Baby boomers get the most excited by them because they had the toys as kids.

Ms Edwards said the history of the golliwog had nothing to do with racism and the decision to boycott the dolls was unfounded.

She said she'd come across equally ludicrous changes in the name of political correctness.

"My children came home from school one day and told me they are not allowed to call it a black- board anymore, they have to call it a chalk board.

"I just thought that is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," she said.

Aboriginal elder Aunty Frances Gala said she couldn't see anything offensive about golliwogs. In fact, she recently bought one for her great-granddaughter.

"Oh please, it's just a doll," Aunty Frances said.

"I've never taken offence to them and neither has anyone I know.

"A lot of our own people look for black dolls, it doesn't have to be a golliwog."


Golliwog debacle

  • The term golliwog is said to have come from British soldiers who bought black dolls in Egypt in 1800s
  • Author Florence Upton's books featured golliwogs in 1895
  • Enid Blyton's Noddy stories had golliwogs replaced
  • Golliwogs removed from store shelves in the 1970s