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A century defending the child's right to play: beginnings of the playground movement in Melbourne, Australia

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This article explores archival material and historical accounts related to the beginnings of the playground movement in Australia. While this mostly comprises adult perceptions of children in early 1900s Melbourne, occasional glimpses of children's perspectives colour the picture as their playfulness echoes through the years. The terrain of early Melbourne is surveyed, with a mapping of the territories of children as they carve out places to play, shining a light on the vigorous campaign to promote play(work) in an emerging colonial society by the Guild of Play, formed in 1913. Working with children's geographies, comparisons are made between social and moral geographies as they relate to governmentality and play(work) provision in Melbourne 100 years ago and today.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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  • The Journal of Playwork Practice aims to advance playwork research and practice by providing the first ever interdisciplinary platform for the publication and dissemination of scholarship relevant to playwork practice. The Journal of Playwork Practice bridges the playwork theory-practice divide by facilitating practitioner access to research relevant to their practice, and enables researchers interested in 'playwork' to access a hitherto inaccessible field of practice and its literature.

    The Journal of Playwork Practice was published by Policy Press from 2014 to 2017, and will return with its new publisher as the International Journal of Playwork Practice in 2019. Further information is available at:

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