‘Barbie’ dolls wearing Qantas uniforms

Made by Willmott-Potts, John in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1988-2010.

This donation consists of forty-two Ken and Barbie dolls dressed in Qantas uniforms hand-made by John Willmott-Potts, who worked as a cook and flight steward with Qantas for 24 years. Each doll represents a different Qantas uniform design from 1948-2009 and where possible John matched the Barbie to the date the uniform was released. The uniforms were crafted from original patterns which a friend of Willmott-Potts miniaturised to enable John to fit them for the Barbie and Ken dolls.

This collect...


The forty two dolls, consisting of Barbie, Ken and others, are wearing a variety of different Qantas uniforms from 1988-2010. The uniforms feature the shirts, jackets, pants, shoes and even some accessories including brooches, hats and bags representing the evolution of the Qantas uniforms used during this period.


John Willmott Potts joined the catering section Qantas in 1964 and served in a number of postings in Mauritius, Papua New Guinea and the Cocos Islands. He was posted in Darwin when cyclone Tracy hit that city in 1974, after this he returned to Sydney and completed his Flight Steward training. He retired in 1988 and moved to Young were he settled down to life on an alpaca farm and began collecting Qantas memorabilia. He began making these dolls in this period and although retired kept up his connection with the airline which enabled him to source orginal cloth for the dolls and keep up with new designs.

The costumes are all hand stitched and are broken up into seven distinct chronological groups: 1948-1959; 1959-1964; 1964-1969; 1969-1971; 1971-1974; 1974-1985; 1985-1993; 1993-2003; 2003-2009.
Willmott-Potts, John 1988-2010
Mattel Inc. 1959-2010


These dolls were made by John Willmott-Potts between 1988 and 2010. Many of them have stands as they were part of a travelling display titled 'Stitches in Time' which John used in his talks to local schools, museums and libraries around rural New South Wales.

In 2010 John approached the Museum with the offer to donate this collection which the museum accessioned shortly after his death in July 2010.
Willmott-Potts, John 1988-2010


Gift of John Willmott-Potts, 2010
18 October, 2010

Cite this Object

'Barbie' dolls wearing Qantas uniforms 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 25 November 2017, <https://ma.as/409749>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/409749 |title='Barbie' dolls wearing Qantas uniforms |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=25 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Store 5 at the Museums Discovery Centre.
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