Gollys, Gollies & Golliwogs

History of the Golliwog

There are many different versions of the history of the Golliwog, now called Golly in Australia.  One thing is for sure, this doll has travelled the world and this is often said to be one of the main reasons different countries have different stories about the origins of the Golly.


One of the more prominent histories of the Golliwogs is Egyptian in the 1800's.  It is said that the Egyptian children played with little dolls called ghulies.  They gave these to British workers who then bought them back to the UK. 

Golliwogs went on to inspire art, music and characters in books.  The name Golliwog is often said to have come from a Dutch author who wrote a series of books in the 1870's called 'The adventures of 2 Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog'.  In these books the Golliwog was a happy character.


There has been some controversy over the dolls in some countries with histories of slavery and black & white minstrels.  Some people feel that the dolls are racist, other people feel they encourage children to play with dolls of all colours, and other people have a childhood connection to the dolls.


In Australia the Golliwog was renamed Golly, out of respect for the cultures who have been called Wogs as a derogatory name in the past.  The word Wog was dropped from the name and they are now called Gollies or Gollys.

At Joybells we sell a range of tasteful Gollies.  Customers who buy Gollies range from all cultures and ages.