Claire Schofield has been making wooden toys for the past 20 years.
Claire Schofield has been making wooden toys for the past 20 years. Nev Madsen

Toys tell the region's past

A FASCINATION with the story of Pinocchio as a child turned into a joyful retirement almost 60 years later for Toowoomba toymaker Claire Schofield.

The former historian said that after hearing the classic tale when she was only eight she always wanted to be a toymaker.

Now she uses her timber toys to tell stories of the settlement of the Darling Downs - the area where she was born and raised.

"I've made more than 2750 toys in the past 20 years," Mrs Schofield said.

"I cast my mind back to when I was a historian and all of the characters that were part of the settlement of the Darling Downs and base my puppets on them.

"Of course, a lot of these characters had some very colourful stories so I do have the school friendly stories and the adult versions depending on my audience."

Mrs Schofield puts her puppets and toys to work in performances based out of her toy store at the Highfields Pioneer Village where you can also purchase some of her toys during the Village's Easter festivities.

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