I REMEMBER WHEN We used to have cracker night!

July 6, 2017
cracker night, crackernight, fireworks, child, 1963

cracker night, crackernight, fireworks, child, 1963

With it recently being 4th of July and Independence Day over in the USA where they celebrate at night with firecrackers, it got me thinking about when I was a kid and we used to have ‘Cracker Night’.  I was quite young so the memories are dim but they are there!  I do recall a gathering of neighbours out on front footpaths of our street creating a real sense of community, excitement, and so much fun!   I also remember some of the more mischievous kids causing havoc by blowing up letterboxes!  It was these nostalgic thoughts that have prompted another I REMEMBER WHEN post from me for this week.

cracker night, kids, fireworks, bonfire, firecrackers

cracker night, kids, fireworks, bonfire, firecrackers

cracker night, kids, fireworks, bonfire, 1961, firecrackers

For any young child growing up in the suburbs of 1950’s, 1960s & 1970s Australia (late 1960’s & 1970’s for me), Cracker Night was right up there with your birthday, Easter, Christmas and for us Brisbane folk – the Ekka.  It was something you saved your pocket-money for and very much looked forward to.  It was a night of Skyrockets, Bungers, Po-hahs, Thunders, Tom Thumbs, Ball-shooters, Throwdowns, Roman candles, Blazing Parachutes, Catherine wheels and more. 

 firecrackers, crackers, cracker night, fireworks

firecrackers, crackers, cracker night, fireworks
firecrackers, crackers, cracker night, fireworks, po ha crackers,
tom thumbs, cracker night, fireworks, firecrackers
roman candle, cracker night, kids, fireworks, bonfire, firecrackers

Roman Candle

Sadly, Queensland (that State in which I grew up and still live) banned unlicensed people buying, selling, using or having fireworks in 1972 (I was only 8 years of age) and thus ended our beloved Cracker Night.  Fireworks were banned obviously for safety reasons.  At the time ‘Cracker Night’ was banned in Queensland, fireworks were apparently the third-largest cause of eye injury in the state.  There were also incidents that occurred on ‘Cracker night’ which sometimes left people with permanent serious injuries and disabilities.
Cracker Night was celebrated on one of two dates throughout Australia: either 24 May in commemoration of Empire Day or on 5 November, honouring the traditional Guy Fawkes Day celebrations that continue to be practiced across Britain every year.  I recall Cracker Night being during cold weather so I’m pretty sure we used to have Cracker Night on 24 May. 
For a bit of fun here is Aussie Icon – John Williamson’s song ‘Cracker Night’.  I love it!


Do you remember cracker night?  Care to share some memories of how you used to celebrate the night?  Join in the nostalgia!

Ciao for now

Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:

Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit
Lyndall of Seize the Day Project
Kathy of 50 Shades of Age
of Debbish
and Jo of And Anyways

It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all five blogs.

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  • Reply Jo Tracey July 6, 2017 at 8:05 am

    I remember it so well. I remember Dad nailing the wheels to the fence & we’d all wait & nothing would happen – until he got close enough to twirl it…at which time it would spin around in a sparky blur. Loved it. Thanks for the memories.

    • Reply Min July 6, 2017 at 10:58 am

      Such great memories aren’t they?! Loved hearing your little memory snippet. πŸ™‚ xo

  • Reply Deborah July 6, 2017 at 8:17 am

    We only ever had sparklers as kids – the metal ones like in your first and third pics. My dad was probably a bit risk averse so always saw the worst case scenario (that’s where I get it from I suspect). But yes, I do remember those days….

    • Reply Min July 6, 2017 at 10:59 am

      My memories aren’t strong enough to remember what fireworks we were allowed to let off but I’m pretty sure my Mum and Dad would have erred on the side of caution also. Still got to see what the neighbours all let off too so I do remember it being loads of fun! πŸ™‚ xo

  • Reply Kathy Marris July 6, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Yes I remember Guy Fawkes Day and Cracker Night. In my neighbourhood as a child it involved building a huge bonfire and then letting off copious amounts of crackers. It was such a fun night and one that we all looked forward to. What great memories. πŸ™‚ #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Min July 6, 2017 at 11:00 am

      Great times weren’t they? I understand the safety issue but such a shame today’s kids don’t get the same experience. xo

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl July 6, 2017 at 9:57 am

    I remember the smell of sparklers the most. And being just a little terrified that I’d catch something alight. But so worth overcoming the fear to see them sparkle and sizzle.

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Min July 6, 2017 at 11:01 am

      I remember the noises and just being in complete awe of it all! πŸ™‚ xo

  • Reply Chris July 6, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I remember fireworks clearly, from my own childhood and from my kids’ childhoods as we live in the ACT and fireworks were only banned here in 2009 or thereabouts. Sure it was fun at the time, but I also remember us kids encouraging our beloved dog to bite at the spinning crackers in the ground when we were young in moments when parents weren’t around for a bit of sport (how she didn’t get hurt I don’t know) and then at uni I recall crackers being fired into crowds of people for a bit of a lark. I remember many stories of terrified animals, lost fingers and eyes, and even worse. Have to say, I don’t miss them at all. Good to have happy memories but best to stay as that.

    • Reply Min July 6, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Wow I didn’t know it was banned as late as 2009 in the ACT! I agree with you Chris – great memories and fun times but best to leave it as it is now. A friend just told me over on my blog’s FB page that she remembers her dressing gown catching on fire and her Mum getting it off her just in time before she got burnt. There would have been so many similar incidents. Not exactly a safe event in the hands of inexperienced people!

  • Reply JODIE FILOGOMO July 6, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    I never loved fireworks even as a kid!! Funny how some things never change, right? But I do love watching them from afar!!

    • Reply Min July 6, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      They can be a bit scary and loud Jodie – I can understand enjoying them better from afar! πŸ˜‰ xo

  • Reply Lyndall @ SeizeTheDayProject July 6, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    I loved cracker night! We always had a big bonfire with the neighbours (I’m sure a lot of nice antiques got burnt as nobody wanted them in the 1970s!). Such as shame we’ve gone all PC and it’s been outlawed. #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Min July 6, 2017 at 9:52 pm

      I don’t have detailed memories of cracker night as I was pretty young but I know we used to celebrate with neighbours too and it was loads of fun! So typical of you to think of antiques getting burnt Lyndall! lol What a dreadful thought knowing what we know now! It is a shame Cracker Night is a thing of the past. I understand the safety concerns though. Shame they couldn’t have kept it but put in place some rules or regulations to keep it safer maybe?

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au July 6, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    I can’t believe I never got to experience cracker night – no such thing existed in WA that I was aware of – and I’m older than you! Qld must have been a more open minded state when it came to stuff like this – the most we had were cap guns that had those little bits of black gunpowdery stuff in them – and my brothers used to make bolt bombs – but no firecrackers πŸ™

    • Reply Min July 6, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      Oh Leanne – no way! Really? You didn’t have it in WA? That’s a shame but at least you probably had a safer childhood! lol My brother had cap guns too. I was fascinated by them for some reason! lol πŸ™‚

  • Reply Janet Camilleri aka Middle Aged Mama July 7, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    I was 5 in 1972, don’t remember it at all!

    • Reply Min July 8, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      Oh you poor young thing Janet! LOL You missed out on some fun! I was 8 in 1972 – only 3 years older but enough to have some memories of it! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit July 8, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    I did a post on this too back on our Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend which was our cracker night. I miss it., Though I don’t miss setting my Nanna on fire …
    We had it for a lot longer in the ACT so my memories are much more recent than yours. So are some of the war wounds. LOL. You can read about it here:


    • Reply Min July 8, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Oh yes I think it was Chris that said it was only banned in the ACT in 2009!! I never realised anywhere in Australia was still having Cracker Night as late as that! I’m off to read your post now!

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond April 12, 2018 at 6:19 am

    Great photos Min and thanks for the trip down memory lane. We lived in a dead end street so all the kids would build a bonfire and neighbours would celebrate together. They seemed such easy times back then..sigh. Niw they have fireworks for every little occasion and I think that takes the specialness away. Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and have a great week.

    • Reply Min April 12, 2018 at 7:37 am

      They did seem such easy times back then didn’t they? These days I think we’ve become way too politically correct and bubble wrapping our kids a bit much. Safety is important but sometimes we’re overly precautionary and at too must cost I think. xo

  • Reply Victoria April 12, 2018 at 8:44 am

    We were never allowed to have firecrackers or be around them. Our mother always said we would lose an eye or a finger. lol This sounds like such fun though and a good memory of your childhood.

    • Reply Min April 12, 2018 at 10:15 am

      They certainly can be dangerous … but great fun under responsible supervision. I have some fabulous memories from cracker nights back in the day! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Mick November 6, 2019 at 2:19 am

    just hearing about your Cracker night and how it went by the wayside. I’m a Pom and today is Guy Fawkes night, Bonfire night, firework night take your pick. Here too the night is under threat i suspect. When i was a kid in the 60’s, it was the best period of time ever, way above Christmas and even my birthday. It would go on for weeks for us kids. Sadly it is being replaced by Halloween because the little kids can be more involved in safety and i see that but nothing can take away my memories of going penny for the guy, collecting wood for our bonfire which was as tall as a house, i kid you not and letting of loads of fireworks.

    • Reply Min November 6, 2019 at 9:39 am

      Hi Mick – so nice to hear from you and so interesting to hear about your Guy Fawkes night! Like you, I understand the safety concerns but gee it’s sad to lose the ‘fun’ isn’t it? I have fond childhood memories too. Sad that today’s kids won’t have those same kind of memories. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting!

  • Reply Mick November 6, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    It was nice to see every bodies memories and pictures. wish i had a few pictures to post but what kid had a camera in the 60’s I am happy to say the firework night is still alive and kicking judging by last night. Because it was midweek, it will be spread between last weekend and this coming weekend with most of the organised displays at the weekends. I never had any interest in organised displays. look pretty for half hour but no fun, seemingly half a mile away from the action (safety obviously). Here in London, with all the bomb sites still around,even in the 60’s, there were plenty of places to build big fires and lots of stuff to burn. We went penny for Guy for weeks before the big day, standing outside pubs, dog tracks etc collecting our pennies for fireworks and sometimes getting lucky and getting a tanner, bob, two bob or half a crown!!! after the event, we spent what seemed like weeks, stoking and keeping the fire embers going and every night, cooking potatoes on it. Someone always had left over fireworks and we always found duds to make Genies with.
    Today as in previous years, the call is for fireworks to be banned and one day, just like you down there, it will happen i am sure.

  • Reply Andrew Smith November 6, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Having just passed the 5th november 2020 I once more think of this. If football or netball were treated in the same way they too would be banned. The injury rate of these sports is horrendous. So there is more to the banning than risk alone. In part it was a change from being a British colony to being a US one. Now they bring out Halloween or Valentine’s day instead. In part there is a wowser element. Which you can see clearly in bans on skateboards on footpaths or other types of bans aimed primarily at youth. But I have my memories of countless cracker nights. I got my last lot of fireworks from NSW and stored them for years so that my children could experience a single bonfire and cracker night. I feel so saddened that young people today are denied so many opportunities that were given freely to me. They have junk aplenty. But they miss playgrounds, trees, rolling down sand dunes, swimming in the channels, riding a bike safely on the roads and cracker nights. Poor children. What are we doing to them?

    • Reply Min November 12, 2020 at 9:22 am

      Hi Andrew – you’re so right about the sports being risky also and if we started banning everything that was a risk we’d end up never leaving our homes! Kids these days do miss out on so much of the fun we remember as kids. There was much more of a community spirit back then too I think.

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