Creative Expressions #13 – Bonfire


Image: Caerlynn Nash.

The first weekend in June was cracker night. We all loved cracker night. Mum would purchase a bag of fireworks and dad would build a bonfire stack in the back yard and we’d all wait anxiously for night to fall.

In those days you could buy almost anything from the shops in terms of fireworks. Anything short of dynamite seemed to be available.

I think dad got a real buzz out of the night too. He’d nail the rotating Catherine wheels to the fence and set them alight. We’d all stand back and watch as the stream of sparks and colours gushed out of it as it spun round.

Being kids we loved playing with the bungers. We had tom-thumbs, penny bungers and double bungers.

With a penny bunger you could send a plastic flowerpot sailing up into the sky.

With a double bunger you were capable of blowing up your neighbour’s letterbox. Not that I did but I knew kids who did.

My greatest adventure was lighting a penny bunger and having it go off just as it left my hand. Like most things in life when you get stung you become very cautious about playing with them again.

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17 Responses to Creative Expressions #13 – Bonfire

  1. Oh my what memories. We had to go to to US to get fireworks but there were some stores that sold them in the 60’s. Fearless youths back then:)

  2. JackieP says:

    We were never allowed the really good firecrackers when we were kids. My parents were probably smart in that. 😉

    • Well we were never really allowed to play with them unless my parents were nearby but we did sneak a few as my older brother had mates who gave him a few to play with.

  3. John Yeo says:

    I remember the cold night with the warmth of the fire, hot baked potatoes in the ashes with sparklers in our hands ~ Explosive colours and bangs~ This a lovely response Michael. 🙂

  4. mandy smith says:

    Your cracker night sounds like a magical, exciting time for you, Michael. Growing up, I think my family was the only one not celebrating the 4th of July. No fireworks because of the danger. I dreamed of lighting them off. At 13 I got hold of a simple firecracker, hid out and lit it–not knowing when to throw it. I burned my fingers pretty badly! Never did fireworks again, lol. Thanks for sharing this story!

    • Yes we all have stories like that. I once unrolled the cracker to reveal a pile of powder which sent up in a puff of smoke in my face. That also was a one off. Finger burns were common if you were slow in throwing it once it was lit. Oh the good old days!!!

  5. Lyn says:

    Oh man, that brought back so many memories for me, Michael. Catherine Wheels…so much fun. Holding the Tom Thumb and letting it go off between your forefinger and thumb. Sky rockets, tuppenny bungers, jumping jacks…I swear they used to chase you. Then the next day checking to see if you can find any crackers around the ground. We had a street bonfire in the back paddock up the road from me. Two of the fathers would build a huge bonfire at least ten foot tall. Thank you, Michael for such a wonderful memory 🙂

  6. Caerlynn Nash says:

    Who doesn’t love a great fireworks show, or even sparklers for kids. Nice memories for young and old.

  7. RoSy says:

    Fun. Nice memories.
    But – oopsie on the one that went off just as it left your hand.

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