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Lotterywest retailer ‘mortified’ at retail network’s decision to stop her sale of golliwogs

By Madison Snow

Retail network Lotterywest has stopped one of its retailers, Kalgoorlie Newsagency, from selling golliwogs after having them on the shelf for 15 years.

Some hold fond childhood memories of golliwogs, but over the past few decades the dolls have become more widely recognised as a symbol of racism.

A spokesperson from Lotterywest said they heard “concerns” from the community and worked with the owner of Kalgoorlie Newsagency, Kerry Holman, to address them.

A sign on the footpath outside Kalgoorlie Newsagency has also been removed.

On the sign it is stated that due to coronavirus anyone who had cold or cough symptoms, had not bathed, had dirty clothing or no shoes were not permitted to enter the shop.

Kalgoorlie Newsagency is part of the Lotterywest retail network, and as a member of that network is required to uphold the organisation’s values.

Debbie Carmody, manager of Kalgoorlie-based Aboriginal media organisation Tjulma Pulka, said the sign was problematic and targeted the Indigenous community.

“This is very good news that the sign has been removed,” Ms Carmody said.

Lotterywest would not confirm whether they requested Ms Holman take the sign down.

Owner ‘mortified’ at decision

Ms Holman blamed recent national media coverage for Lotterywest’s decision to ask her to stop selling the dolls.

Earlier this month, the ABC reported on Ms Holman defending her decision to sell golliwogs.

“You are the people who have caused the whole town to miss out on golliwogs,” Ms Holman said.

“I have questioned 100 per cent of every customer that’s come in my shop, they all love the golliwogs.

“Including the black people, the Aboriginal people that come in my shop every single day, I’ve asked every single one of them and they’ve told me I’m racist for not selling black dolls.”

Ms Holman had previously told the ABC she was not interested in the history of the toys, but in a more recent interview admitted she had looked into it but declined to share her thoughts on the topic.

“You don’t have to know what I think,” she said.

Ms Holman said she was “mortified” that she would not be able to sell the dolls anymore.

“Nothing’s wrong with golliwogs, I’ve sold them for 15 years, everyone absolutely loves them,” she said.

A ‘small victory’

Ms Carmody said she had contacted a lawyer to see what action could be taken to stop the sale of golliwogs at the newsagency.

“I’m very, very happy to say now that I don’t have to go down that road,” she said.

Ms Carmody said she was grateful they had taken a stand against the sale of the dolls.

“Sometimes when you’re just a little voice on the street your voice doesn’t get heard,” she said.

“But when an organisation like Lotterywest comes along and says ‘No, this is not appropriate because it doesn’t fit in with our aims and objectives’, it has power.

“It’s really good to know that more and more organisations are getting on board and taking a stand against racism.

“It’s a small victory in this town for black people.”

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