A GOLLY doll collector who yesterday tried to buy the controversial toy is dismayed after the stock was pulled from a store's shelves.
Newtown woman Joan Hateley has 13 "golliwog" dolls and is collecting them to create sets of families.
Terry White Chemists Clifford Gardens yesterday pulled the products from shelves after an "Experience a white Christmas" sign positioned above nine black dolls sparked controversy.
"I love Golliwogs because they're beautiful, they're cuddly, they're different and they're gorgeous," Ms Hateley said.
"They're not aimed at any race, colour or creed - it's just a soft toy."
The display caught the eye of a passer-by on Tuesday. Aboriginal activist Dr Stephen Hagan subsequently said it was offensive and called Toowoomba the "most racist city in Australia."
While some see the dolls as innocuous toys, they have become controversial symbols considered to be a racist caricature of people of colour.
However, Ms Hateley admires the dolls because of a time in history when Egyptian children used to play with them and give them to British soldiers stationed there in the 19th century.
"I came from England on a boat in 1960 and we weren't allowed to bring our Golliwogs and teddy bears with us," she said.
"I'd like to tell the public that the Golliwog has an original meaning which is much more precious to the world than anything racist.
"It's not about colour or race, it's about meaning. They were meant to bring joy and happiness to soldiers and their wives - they were never meant to offend anyone."
Ms Hateley said the outrage and decision to pull the dolls would divide the community.
"I've never seen a country that helps people around the world like Australia - you accept any Tom, Dick or Harry of any colour, race or creed," she said.
Terry White Chemists Clifford Gardens managing partner Alwyn Baumann has apologised for selling the product.
"We unreservedly apologise if we have caused offence to our customers or any member of our local or broader community for selling this product.
"We have made a regrettable error in choosing to stock this product.
"Staff have removed the product from our shelves and we will be returning all purchased stock to the supplier.
We will not stock this product in the future, " he said.
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Mr Baumann's comments were reiterated in a statement from TerryWhite Chemmart which read, "The Golly Doll is not part of our national line of endorsed products.
"We have taken immediate action to audit all pharmacies within our network to ensure this product, if present in any other pharmacy, is withdrawn from sale.
"Pharmacy owners within our network can stock and sell products at their discretion, in addition to our national line of endorsed products.
"As a consequence, we will tighten our guidelines to ensure pharmacies within our network order and stock appropriate products consistent with our business values."
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