Archives and Special Collections: De Lissa Association

De Lissa Association title and 2 pictures of kindy
Three pictures of kindergartens
Three pictures of kindergartens
3 Adelaide Kindergarten Training College buildings

De Lissa Association Collection

Lillian De Lissa portrait

Lillian de Lissa

The collection is made up of 38 boxes and includes historical items related to the De Lissa Association, the Gipsy Hill Training College and the kindergarten movement in South Australia. There are papers, correspondence, books, photographs, newspaper clippings, slides and items made by graduates which were used in kindergartens.

Early childhood teacher education in South Australia

Betty Davis portrait

Dr Betty Davis was a principal, and director, of the Kindergarten Training College in Adelaide.

Listen to an interview she gave for an oral history project here.

In 2009 UniSA celebrated 100 years of early childhood teacher education, read more about the history in UniSANews.

Access Conditions

Location: City West Campus - Jeffrey Smart Building, Level 4

Loan: Not for loan. Access online via the UniSA Library Archives catalogue, Physical collection by appointment

Access and further information: Please contact Ask the Library

Highlights from the collection

Bright wooden toy train

Wooden toy train

This train was made by Cynthia Hannaford between 1961 and 1963 at the Kindergarten Training College

Kids blowing bubbles with bamboo bubble pipes

Improvised bubble blowing

Children using bamboo bubble pipes to blow bubbles at Port Adelaide Kindergarten in the 1940s

Girl doll with red and white dress and bow in her hair


Little doll from the collection

Graduating students De Lissa 1938

Kindergarten Training College students

Graduating students from 1938

Matchbox girl finger puppet

Matchbox doll

Handmade finger puppet made from a matchbox

Kids gardening 1908 at Franklin Street kindy

Franklin Street Kindergarten

Children gardening at Franklin Street Kindergarten in 1908

Kids and a piano at a kindy

Kindy kids

Children at kindergarten with instruments

Handmade book for Christmas

Handmade book

A book about Christmas made by a Kindergarten Teachers College student 1957

Children on mats playing at Keith Sheridan Kindy

Keith Sheridan Kindergarten

Children on mats playing at Keith Sheridan Kindergarten in 1928

Children's activities book - carrying things

Activities book

Handmade by Romola Wollaston

Childrens activities book - pictures show boats

Activities book

Handmade by Romola Wollaston

Kids playing with water Netherby 1954

Water play

Children playing with water in the Netherby Kindergarten's paddling pool in 1954

Bright wooden boat

Wooden toy boat

This boat was made by Cynthia Hannaford between 1961 - 1963 at the Kindergarten Training College

Kindy kids doing craft in the 1960s

Kids crafting

Kids making craft in the 1960s

Kids climbing at kindy 1960s

At play

Kids climbing on packing cases and other equipment - 1960s

Kewpie boy doll circa 1940-1960


Little doll from the collection

Kindergarten Training College students fundraising


Kindergarten Training College Students selling badges in the city for the Kindergarten Union of South Australia Appeal

De Lissa with kindy students 1908

Lillian De Lissa with students

Kindergarten students with Lillian De Lissa at Ashfield Day Nursery (Sydney) in 1908

Coloured felt finger puppets kookaburra and parrot

Finger puppets

Multi-coloured felt finger puppets

Kindy kids in a life-size play train


Kindy kids playing on a life-size play train in 1962

Wooden clapping blocks with coloured handles

Clapping blocks

Wooden clapping blocks with coloured handles

Kids playing

Kids at play

Kids playing at Lucy Morice Free Kindergarten circa 1950

Handmade sock puppets with button eyes.

Sock puppets

Handmade puppets with button eyes

Climbing equipment at Lucy Morice kindy

Climbing equipment

Outdoor equipment for climbing at Lucy Morice Free Kindergarten

Pages of a child development book 15 months baby

Child development book

Handmade by Betty Daniels

Child development book age 3 years child in bath

Child development book

Handmade by Betty Daniels

Kids in paddling pool 1955

Paddling pool

Children in paddling pool at Netherby Kindergarten in 1955

Page from a paper folding book

Paper folding book

Book made in 1935 by Joan Goode, a Kindergarten Training College student showing paper folding techniques

Kids playing near a creek

Kindy kids

Kids playing

Kids playing outside with aprons on bubble blowing

Outside play

Kids playing outside

Lambs made from pipe cleaners


Handmade lambs made from pipe cleaners

Dolls dressed as shepherds


Dolls dressed as shepherds to go with the pipe cleaner lambs

Lillian De Lissa

Lillian de Lissa

Lillian setup the first free kindergarten in Adelaide in 1906 and also established the Kindergarten Teacher's College in 1907, to train teachers in early childhood education. She also went on to establish kindergartens in the United Kingdom. Throughout her life she was a passionate advocate for early childhood education, speaking at seminars and publishing many articles.

Click here for more information about Lilian de Lissa.

Books from the collection

Two Little Girls book cover

Two little girls an Australian book of children's poetry

Book cover Good fun singing games Book 2

Good fun singing games: Book 2  physical exercises set to music

Meeting the needs of our children book cover

Meeting the needs of our children a history of Brisbane Kindergarten Teachers College from 1911-1981

Book cover Rediscovering Unit Blocks by Ian Fry

Rediscovering unit blocks a booklet exploring the use of unit blocks in kindergartens 1992

Cover of Creating with Cast-offs by Joan Blank

Creating with cast-offs Volume 1: Paper provides craft ideas for children using paper 1980

Cover of ideas for backyard playgrounds

Ideas for backyard playgrounds  1969

Cover of Folk Songs for Young Singers piano music

Folk songs for young singers a book of piano music

Cover of The Adelaide Kindergarten Teachers College

The Adelaide Kindergarten Teachers College  a history of the college from 1907-1974

Cover of Fun with the Family book

Fun with the family  ideas for creative play with the family

Cover of Grandpa and Me by Joan Kinmont

Grandpa and me a book of stories and poems for children 1944

Book cover See-Saws & Swings by Ruth Alexander

See-saws & swings and other children's songs  piano music book 1948

Cover of Talks by De Lissa Golden Jubilee 1955

Talks given by Lillian De Lissa in 1955

Book cover Music for Children by William Walton

Music for children a book of piano music 1949