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The Doll Doctor of Belgrave

Updated on June 24, 2014

Collecting Dolls from the Past

Back in the 1950s, before toys became disposable items, our dolls lasted us through childhood. They were true friends. But accidents sometimes happened and so every neighbourhood had a Doll Doctor.

Not all Doll Doctors disappeared with the Barbie Invasion. In the hills outside of Melbourne, Sharon O'Brien finds those childhood friends and brings them lovingly back to life


The Doll Doctor of Melbourne - A Passionate Collector

Sharon O'Brien collects toys which are mostly from the 1950s. Spinning tops, block puzzles, tins of colouring pencils, tiny tea sets, tin cars and trucks, wind up tin toys, prams, teddies and of course, dolls.

Her first repair job was an old 1930 Black Topsy Doll which her daughter brought home from the market.

A special favourite is ''Agatha'', made at the London Pottery in 1920 and in Mint Condition. Sharon also treasures an old Metal-Head doll made in Germany which survived two world wars.

"Even though I have many Dolls I can still remember where and how much I paid for each one. .And I Love everyone of them, no matter what they cost - $2.00 or $500.00.

Metal Head Doll

The Metal Head Dolls were manufactured in Germany from 1894 through to 1925.

The heads were molded from a sheet of tin or metal and usually placed on kid leather or all cloth bodies, with painted hair, painted eyes, glass eyes and mohair wigs.

This doll is Annie, one of Sharon's repairs. She has the usual German made head and her body is made of cloth.

Sharon's Dolls

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With over 500 dolls and many other toys, Sharon's Collection has almost taken over the house.

The Doll Doctor Museum

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Sharon's Wish

Sharon's dream is to show the world all her beautiful toys.

"If I could have one wish granted for my Collection it would be to have a huge building to house all my toys, to show to children of today and bring back memories for those of my generation. I love to explain all about toys from the past."

The Doll Doctors are few and far between these days. Did you ever know one?

Did you know a Doll Doctor?

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Should Sharon get a Toy Museum?

What do you think?

Do you think a museum just for old toys is frivolous or even foolish? Who would want to look at them? Or perhaps you think it's an admirable idea but an impractical one.

How do you think an idea like this would work? Is it possible? Would she accept donations from visitors?

You're welcome to leave any comments, queries, suggestions, advice or mind-shattering ideas. Tell us what you think.

Should Sharon get a Museum for her Toy Collection?


Photos courtesy of Sharon O"Brien

Every comment is much appreciated. Say G'Day to Sharon, the Doll Collector!

Give Sharon a Cheerio! - Doll Restorer, Collector and Historian

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    • profile image

      flaws 3 years ago

      Hi Sharon

      I have come across your website looking for a home for my baby doll which I have had since I was 3 (1960). She has been living in a cupboard for many years and I think it is time for her to go to a good home. I am happy to donate her to your collection. Email me on if you are interested.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi Sharon,

      I'm a 2nd year journalism student, and am interested in interviewing you on your passion for dolls. I am a collector myself and would love to hear your story. If you are interested, please contact me via email: where I can tell you more about it.

      I eagerly await your response! Thanks, Louise

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wish you were in SW Scotland! Two dolls need you. I was born in WW2. First doll my Granny won for a sixpence guessing her name. I have dolls house furniture for sale. Loved your collection.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      Sharon thank you for being around to care for the dolls who are so deep in the hearts of so very many. What a wonderful heart warming hobby.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @goldenrulecomics: Doll Doctors are few and far between here as well goldenrulecomics. That's the reason I taught myself to repair because I couldn't find anyone.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @SandyPaw: They do sandy Paw, most of the modern dolls all look the same.

    • profile image

      seegreen 5 years ago

      I've never heard of a Doll Doctor before but it now seems to be so logical. Personally I find dolls a little creepy, especially rows of them. Interesting lens. Who knew?

    • profile image

      Glendame 5 years ago

      How admirable! I wish I still had my miniature dolls which I collected back in the 50s

    • profile image

      SandyPaw 5 years ago

      The older dolls have so much more personality than the modern dolls

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 5 years ago

      When we lived in England we had a desperate need for a doll doctor because our daughter's favorite plush toy was falling apart. We found out there were only two in the entire country! The one we selected was about a two-hour drive away, and she was excellent...great lens. Brings back a nice memory!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My mother gave me a doll from my Grandmother. The marking are 665d, Germany 15 . She's a 6 inch tall,porcelain,porcelain blonde hair, little girl, eyes are looking away with pick lips and dimples. Trying to find out a little about her.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      @anonymous: I'll pass this on to Sharon immediately - if you would like to leave an email - you can send it to me privately on my profile at

      You'll see a contact button just under my picture

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      I hope Sharon gets her museum. Great lens on this interesting doll doctor.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hello Sharon:

      I have a collection of Japanese dolls circa 1957 given to me for my 1st b-dday back then. They are not in good condition but I still hate to throw them out. Are you interested in fixing them? If no, do you know anyone who will? I am leaving home (Port Douglas) on the 6th and will be in melbourne from the 14th to the 23rd. Looking forwardto your reply.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      What lovely story about my Mum's passion. Thanks Susanna.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Sharon Joy O' Brien is such a wonderful woman with such a beautiful passion towards her love & devotion to restoring these beautiful dolls, that it truly would be wonderful for Sharon to have a museum to house all her collections for showing & sharing. It is so wonderful to have these treasures of old restored so their true originality of creation can be appreciated!

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 8 years ago from Lancaster PA

      This woman needs doll museum!!

      Nice work!