Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Bon Fire Night

England's bonfire night is the fifth of November. I suppose that was when we used to celebrate it here. It was quite an occasion for us. We sometimes called it cracker night. We had no idea what the night was about, or its history. It was purely a cultural habit.

(Fire) Crackers appeared at the local store for a limited time in advance for us to carefully peruse before buying. What a fine old time we had at bon fire cracker parties. The last one I remember was at our neighbours, the Hitchens. So many rockets, catherine wheels and penny bungers, that cost a good bit more than the equivalent of a penny. What about the Jumping Jacks, thrown at the feet of a girl of your desire. My parents had already separated, but Father stayed the night at the farm for the last time. The relatively new HR Holden supplied a heat source to light crackers, by the way of the working cigarette lighter. The bon fire was big and burnt strongly, radiating immense heat over anyone within a few metres.

Slightly odd that our strict Baptist neighbours welcomed the likes of us to their Bon Fire party, but they did. Slightly odd that the celebrated it at all. It just occurred to me why Mother and Mrs Hitchens were never really were friends. They were so worlds apart.

Then along came old misery Premier John Cain who banned fireworks. What a spoiler of fun he was.

No more cat anuses blown apart. No more children burnt by fireworks. No more mate's scorched balls. No more cats with Jumping Jacks tied to their tails, running into the bush in terror. No more dogs trembling in fright.

You just have to love the good old days when life was simpler and the pleasures so innocent.

22 comments:

  1. For city slickers like my family, cracker night was held at the local park. It wouldn't be complete without someone getting burnt or injured in some way whether they be human or domestic animal.

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    1. Victor, I personally don't know of anyone who was injured, but I remember the newspaper stories the next day.

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  2. Colin7:29 am

    Ah what great memories of "cracker night".
    We would select a decayed tree and then get as much rubbish as possible to pack around it, took weeks of preparation.
    As we lived in the country certain safe practices were enforced.
    I can't recall anyone getting hurt and there would be heaps of kids running around hither and thither! Maybe some forgot to quickly throw their "bungers" and got a bit burnt, but too bad. Certainly no cats or dogs had anything tied to tails. All in all great fun.
    Now I must get back on my "prayer" mat and pray that my first four get to that post as the FIRST FOUR!!

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    1. Colin, that was quite a cracker night you had. Jumping jacks were funny, especially when let off around the older ladies and seeing them hopping and jumping.

      Sorry, I don't get the last bit.

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  3. I enjoyed cracker night very much its just that a few idiots spoiled the night for everybody else with stupid pranks like the ones you mentioned.

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    1. Windsmoke, I am not sure, but I think quite a number of kids used to get burnt each year.

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  4. Haha! Maybe the whole she-bang gave the Baptists the salacious thrill of a foretaste of hell?

    PS 'salacious' is my new favourite word!

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    1. Red, I shall ever associate you with the word salacious.

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  5. "Cracker" night eh? I guess it's kind of like our 4th of July?

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    1. Rubye, technically I think it is Guy Fawkes night, remembering when someone tried to blow up the English houses of parliament.

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  6. So, Cain's to blame, eh? Nearly fell off my chair at the line 'no more mate's scorched balls'.

    There seems no difficulty in purchasing fireworks for the good people of Franger. A rowdy neighbourhood party/post party domestic would be nothing without the pyrotechnics.
    Ever resourceful, Frankstonians have been known to resort to flares. Must be the saltwater in their brains.

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    1. FC, slight exaggeration but such things happen now, and are then uploaded to You Tube.

      Mosquito larvae from the Kananook Creek implanted in their brains.

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  7. I was disappointed as much as my kids when cracker night was outlawed. We used to love the fancy rockets and roman candles, the catherine wheels nailed to the fence. I'm annoyed now, that for Chinese New Year and at other times during the year, I hear fireworks going off for some celebration or other, yet we are not allowed our cracker night.

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    1. River, I have a feeling crackers are still allowed in the NT. They should have let us keep roman candles, catherine wheels and there was some hand held sparkler things, I think.

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  8. My brothers and I adored cracker night; it was the only night of the year when every father in the suburb spent the entire evening amusing his children. Noone wanted to go to bed!!! What a shame crackers were banned, at least for ordinary families.

    I always knew exactly what the fireworks were for!!! Those beastly Catholics had tried to blow up Parliament with King James I in it, but the thugs were flushed out from under the building, hung drawn quartered and then tried in court. They didn't try that stunt again!

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    1. Hels, in my experience, it was a night when dads stayed sober too. It was a magical experience for kids. No one wanted to leave because the monstrous fire was still burning well.

      It would have changed history, had they succeeded in their act of terrorism.

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  9. I think they were banned in South Australia in the mid seventies too - however, in Darwin, they're still allowed.

    We had a narrow escape when some drunk bogans decided to let a few off near our BBQ table....

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    1. There were lots of stories like that Kath. People don't seem to remember, but I think they were banned for good reasons.

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  10. Do you mean John Cain the renowned party pooper? I don't remember anyone getting hurt either, but then again I can't remember what happened last week haha!! Btw when you say SA where I grew up do you mean South Africa, if so I've never been there, I grew up in Zimbabwe (now, then it was Rhodesia) and Zambia, my parents didn't approve of apartheid.

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    1. Grace, Cain was seen as being pretty serious and not the type to be the life of the party. Yes, I know Rhodesia, but during apartheid times, I would imagine attitudes were similar towards and between gays to what they were in South Africa. I really should keep my mouth shut about things I don't know about.

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  11. I loved the ones with the parachutes!

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  12. I don't them Fen. They fire up into the air explode as they descend on a parachute?

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