Game name (and type): 'Poison Ball', 'Callings Up' (ball games)
Alternative types: elimination games

Handwritten description of the ball games 'Poison Ball' and 'Callings Up' composed for Dr Dorothy Howard by Barbara Pankervis, a twelve year old student at East Camberwell Girls Secondary School, in 1954-1955. Pankervis describes 'Poison Ball' and 'Callings Up' as games requiring players aged between eight and fourteen years of age, which are played in all seasons in streets, parks and halls. To play 'Poison Ball', she states that two players stand at the far ends of a predetermined, rectangular area, as indicated by her hand drawn diagram. The players throw a ball between them, taking aim at the other children standing in the centre. If a child is hit by the passing ball, they are eliminated from the game. Pankervis explains the various scenarios which occur if the ball is caught by a player in the centre or by a child at one of the ends. Pankervis also discusses 'Callings Up', stating that each player selects a name of a plant, flower, animal, country or car. She states that a ball is thrown and a name called out. The corresponding child collects the ball and requests the other players to 'stand!'. The child attempts to throw the ball at the stationary players. If hit by the ball, the player accumulates a letter from the word 'DONKEY'. Pankervis notes that the game continues until all players have accrued the letters of 'DONKEY'. She lists other players of 'Poison Ball' and 'Callings Up' including Margaret Pankervis, John Pankervis, Judy Backhouse, Margot Wheaton, Russell Sholer, Fiona Nicolls, Diana Nicolls, Pam Prichard, Merry Hughes, David Sholer and Russell Sholer.

One of a collection of letters describing a children's game 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 black ink on paper. Comprises two sheets. First page features a letterhead printed in black ink; second page features a hand drawn illustration in pencil and text written on both sides of page.

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