Monday, June 12, 2017

Day 2797 - The Queen's Birthday Long Weekend

Remember when there were fireworks?

When I was a kid the June long weekend was always about bonfires and fireworks.  I'm not talking about an all-of-community fireworks show, but fireworks in your own backyard.

We owned a paddock in the centre of town which was the perfect place to load up a pile of wood to create a roaring fire and set off a few crackers.  I recall carrying around my own little bag of fireworks for personal use on the night,  All the kids had a bag each, kind of like a lollie bag, only a tad more evil.

Being able to purchase and set off your own fireworks was banned in around 1986 after annual accidents rendered them a public nuisance.  I'm surprised there weren't more accidents with sky rockets being lit horizontally, bungers thrown on the ground next to people to give them a "scare" and people even pinning crackers to the clothes line and lighting them as they spun.

Not to mention what it did to the psychological welfare of our pets and a peak in sales for the letterbox industry.

When NSW closed shop on all things "BANG" attention focussed on the ACT.  As with many things in good ol' Canberra, Fyshwick was the hot spot for anyone wanting to continue with the Queen's birthday weekend traditions.

We managed to get another 23 years or so until the ACT also shut up shop in 2009.

With my parents living on a property we could easily buy a bunch of bungers in Canberra and smuggle them across the border to continue our foray into pyromaniacal activities.

It was often fraught with danger. There was the year one young lad accidentally dropped his sparkler in the fireworks box which set off a series of colourful flow on effects ending in my dear old Nanna's sweater catching on fire. My aunties just patted her on the back until the flames subsided and other than the hole in her brand new sloppy joe, she was none the wiser.

Then there was the year that my soon-to-be-hubby bought the 50 shot grand finale firework that only set off 18 shots and then fizzled.  After waiting a good minute or two 10 seconds to see what happened he threw it in the bonfire angrily.  Cue much diving, ducking and screaming as the extra 32 shots proceeded to fire horizontally in all directions, bouncing off trees and sending people head first into the tussocks.  Except for my dad.  He couldn't move on account of his Drizabone freezing solidly into place which had him in a permanent squat next to an old tree stump.  He wasn't phased. He just laughed his donkey laugh while the rest of us ran for cover.

Aah yes. Those were the days. That was when the Queen's Birthday Long Weekend actually meant something! We had something special to do that was completely different to any other time of the year. Albeit with long lines in the ER and dogs under our bed covers whimpering in confusion.

Nowadays we just hang around doing normal long weekend things.  Sleeping in, venturing interstate, visiting people and catching up on back-to-back television. With a pair of dogs who have no idea how lucky they are.

Do you remember when there were fireworks?

What does the June long weekend mean to you? 


  1. The closest I ever got to fireworks as a child were those sparkler sticks. Bet you they're banned now ... :-P

    SSG xxx

    1. You can still by sparklers. We often use them at new year! I have a box in my cupboard in fact. Hmmm ... might set them off tonight just to get a bit of the ol' fashioned June long weekend thing happening. xo

  2. I used to love cracker night growing up Leanne but I feel now that the specialness has gone because we have fireworks for everything!!! Sparklers were my favourite and trying to write my name with them. We used to live in a dead end street so all the neighbours would build a bonfire and we would have cracker night together. Great memories.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

  3. Oh my goodness you did have fun...and of course, there were silly accidents and serious ones so the whole thing became banned. But ACT did still have them on sale. Now, thanks to your post, I see they've shut up shop too. Your post was fun. In fact it was a cracker as your promised!! Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek 24/52. Next week: First Concert.

  4. I miss those nights and spent many years fully jealous of the lucky sods in the ACT who could still carry on once it was banned here. I'm sad my kids won't get to experience the same fun but it probably is safer for all concerned!

  5. Oh I forgot this was the weekend we used to have fireworks!!! What amazing memories, i remember the last year we were aloud to do it, there was so much smoke everywhere!

  6. Thankfully we still have fireworks in NZ. They are only on sale several days before Guy Fawkes 5 November now, to try and reduce the accidents. The focus is on public displays now, which there are many of at this time and through out the year.

  7. Can't believe I hadn't seen this post till now. Interestingly you celebrated Cracker Night a different time of year to us in Queensland. It was cracker night here on 24 May. Sadly it was banned here in 1972 - just a tad earlier than 2009!!!! I was only 8 when it was banned here but I'm glad I have some memories of it - all fun! :-)


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