Joan  Therese  Rooke  -  a Life Maestro.

24th January 1952  -  31st May 2010.

Dobbin and Drum Toys started for a couple of reasons, the most important being a personal need.

It was a need deep within a young couple to be creative and to make for their own children – and the children of friends and relatives – a number of simple, traditional toys.
Toys that just didn’t seem available – no matter where we looked!

That young couple were Joan Rooke and Mervyn Langford.
We started in the early 1980’s using a room and verandah space in our rambling, tumble-down house on the edge of a Queensland country town.

Many things happened through the intervening years – including stumbling over an immense number of business hurdles: many good artisans make absurdly bad business people!
We cheerfully ignored the contemporary “wisdom” of outsourcing everything (except the “making” of money!) to third world sweat shops. Habitually it was recommended as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd important business decision by a huge number of successful business people, who just couldn’t see why their wisdom wasn’t completely obvious to us.

But the actual making, and the quality and uniqueness of the toys that came out of our workshop, somehow helped keep the sense of fun and determination bumbling along.

However, the most significant and tragic event in the nearly 30 year life of “Dobbin and Drum Toys”, was that Joan developed an incurable cancer. She died after a long and sad demise.

In so many ways it was her skill as an immensely intuitive and clear-headed thinker. Her down to earth ability to envisage and create a beautiful design. Her love and commitment to natural fibres. Her mastery of a sewing machine. And her sense of playfulness and her devotion to children that drove us so much of the time.

These things are only the tip of the magic, charm and talent that helped make her such a glorious person – a veritable “life” maestro.

Her illness and death obviously impacted on our willingness and ability to respond to the huge numbers of enquiries and orders that kept coming through in this time. And this continues off and on, after her death.

But these are the strengths and draw-backs of a little family business.

If you felt let down, please don’t. We were going through the worst years of our lives. And the whole success of our toy making is our commitment to people. And we are a very committed family! Being successfull as “people” is what really counts in this world – isn’t it?

However, time rolls on and we have kept stumbling along trying to enjoy the game we play: making beautiful, simple, elegant and robust toys.
We do it because we want to.
We do it because it helps satisfy that creative need within us. We do it because playing and music is fundamental to us.
We do it because our kids – and your kids – need no-nonsense, high quality and proudly locally made toys.
Toys that will last longer than the packaging, and which can be passed around from family to family.
Toys that can be repaired and refreshed.
Toys that are the beginning of games and that ensure kids develop a mind of their own.
Toys that will become life-long memories – long after the item has disappeared somewhere!

Thank you for your support and we look forward to many, many more years in the workshop.

(8th May 2012. On behalf of Dobbin and Drum Toys.)