Subject: Re Aussies and Fireworks night
Posted: 7 Mar 2017 2:36 am
When I was a kid in the late 1950s we always celebrated cracker night, as we called it. The govt eventually banned it because of the numbers of amputated fingers and blinded eyes - the lousy spoilsports! That's why nobody appears to know about it now - or in 1996 when you wrote about it.
We lived on a farm south of Perth, W A and our bonfire was about 20 metres long by 3 or 4 high, made from a base of bulldozed trees. To add to the fun, we 3 boys would chuck bits of asbestos into the fire which went off with a very nice bang.
I remember one year a rogue skyrocket took off horizontally instead of vertically and sent our sister screaming across the paddock. Of course we laughed, didn't we, little bastards that we were. She's been scared of bangs ever since.
You were right not to ride a bicycle around Enzed. I did, in 1975, and it was bloody hard work, but a great experience. The following year I rode it from Townsville to Perth across the Nullarbor. Read all about it in Two Wheels, Dust and Flies (a shameless plug here).
Love your writings; you sound like a man after my own heart, but I'm too bloody old to do those sort of travels any more.
Cracker night? That's a great name. It sounds like you got in there and made the most of it before it got banned! 20m-high bonfires, horizontal rockets and asbestos? Beat that!
These days in the UK, organised firework displays seem to be more poplar than back-garden bonfires, though we still get the annual adverts on TV telling us how dangerous fireworks are. Luckily we live on a hill overlooking the Thames valley, and if the weather is good we can see 10-15 fireworks displays kicking off at once. It's not unlike being on One Tree Hill in Auckland, come to think of it! Happy days...
Hats off to you and your bicycle exploits from the 1970s. Even though I was a fit 25-year-old when I arrived in Australia, I never even considered cycling across the Nullarbor - heck, it was challenging enough in a car! That is one serious achievement; even these days, with super-efficient bikes, super-lightweight camping gear and a busier highway, it's a mad thing to do, but in the mid-1970s?