Game name (and type): 'Donkey' (ball game)
Alternative types: chasing games, running games, play with props/equipment, word games

Handwritten description of the ball game 'Donkey' written for Dr Dorothy Howard by Murray Campbell, a student at Double View Government Primary School, on 25 March 1955. Campbell writes that 'Donkey' requires a ball, some chalk and a maximum of eight players. He states that a wide, quiet road is the preferred location to play. To play, a large, chalk circle is drawn at the centre of the street and divided equally into sections. A child is elected 'he', who allocates a section and a number to each player. The game's rules are somewhat unclear; however, it appears that 'he' bounces the ball in the circle's centre and calls out a number. All the players, except for the child whose number was called, must run as far as possible before 'he' catches the ball. Campbell explains that 'he' takes three strides towards the closest player, throwing the ball at them. If hit, the player must write the letter 'd' in their section of the circle. He notes that each hit results in the accumulation of another letter until 'DONKEY' is spelt.

One of a collection of letters describing a children's games written to children's Folklorist Dorothy Howard between 1954 and 1955. Dr Howard came to Australia in 1954-55 as an American Fulbright scholar to study Australian children's folklore. She travelled across Australia for 10 months collecting children's playground rhymes, games, play artefacts, etc. This letter, together with the other original fieldwork collected by Dr Howard during this period, is preserved in the Dorothy Howard Collection manuscript files, part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC), Archive Series 3. The ACFC is an extensive collection documenting children's folklore and related research.

Physical Description

Handwritten game description in blue ink on lined paper. Features borders ruled in red pencil; text printed on both sides of page.

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