Sunday, July 9, 2017

Remember when . . .


Some friends and I were discussing things from our childhood days that are no longer here now or have changed. Following are some of those memories (I have written about some of them previously in Bytes).

Remember . . . 

. . . when this sign was for playing noughts and crosses and we had never heard the term “hashtag”?

. . . when telephones looked like this and you had to spin dials to get the number?

. . . walking to school?  Kids probably still walk to school today but in our day we hadn’t heard of pedophiles and we walked considerable distances. You could play outside unsupervised as long as you were home by dark.  Then they introduced the concept of safety houses, places of safe refuge, identified by this sign:

The program began in 1979 in Victoria and was adopted by New South Wales in 1984 but the latter discontinued it in favour of a new program designed to provide children with simple strategies to help ensure their own personal safety. Queensland discontinued its use in 2014 because of the lack of volunteers. The idea of “stranger danger” has been criticised as focusing attention on child molestation by strangers when, in reality, it happens most often by offenders known to the children, frequently by family members.

. . . whilst talking about walking, getting bindi eyes in your feet when walking barefoot over grass in summer? People today may still get them but from what I have observed we tended to go barefoot a lot more then.

. . . outdoor toilets? And by that, I mean the old pan toilets where the pan was removed by the “dunny man” on the “dunny truck”. He left an empty pan in its place. 

We lived in the suburbs,with its larger blocks and car driveways.  The inner city had smaller blocks with limited access to the backyard where the toilet was located.  Those inner city blocks had their own “dunny lanes”, the outside toilet being located on the rear boundary where the dunny man could retrieve the pan from a small back door . . . 


. . . brass fire helmets? Back in our day firemen (there was no non-gender specific language back then) wore brass fire helmets, adorned with fire breathing dragons. My mother, an avid collector of brass and copper items in Holland before we came to Australia, continued the practice in Oz long before it became fashionable. Hence, when NSW Fire Brigade brass helmets were decommissioned in 1964, she obtained one somehow. I look at it now on my shelf as I write this.

Then and now

. . . car turning indicators that flicked out like a finger? I recall that my father’s first car in Australia had that type of indicator that came out of the column. Here is an embarrassing early photo of those days that I have previously posted (me on the right), with the caption that is below the photograph:

With my mother, father and brothers not long after arrival in Oz. My mother made our clothes, which included the European style shorts with the flouncy shoulder straps. We had to go to school like that!!!

. . . hand signals when turning in your car or stopping?



When my friends and I discussed the finger indicators, Wayne brought to mind that back in our young days, signalling of car turns and coming to a stop was by the driver putting his arm out of the car window, as above. The road rules still state that those indications are to be used if car indicators are not working, that's where the illustrations are from.

Here is another hand signal still in use from those days, one I happened to have posted recently as part of post on funny images:

And while on the topic of hand signals in cars, I once saw a car that had an automated 'giving the finger' hand that rose from the rear parcel shelf for cars behind, once activated by the driver.  I haven't been able to find a pic of it but here is a more modern equivalent:

It's called a drivemocion and can be purchased at:

. . . cracker night? Known as Guy Fawkes Night in England, it was also known in Oz as Bonfire Night.  The occasion was the commemoration of Guy Fawkes and his group trying to blow up Parliament in England in 1605.  Every backyard in Oz had a bonfire, a huge fire, often with an effigy of Guy Fawkes at the top (we kids always crowned the fire pyre with a rubber tyre - I should have been a poet).  The skyrockets were fired, the Catherine wheels set off and the crackers exploded around the bonfire. Children and adults got hurt, letterboxes were blown up by crackers in the days leading up to the actual night, pets were frightened out of their wits by cracker night explosions and airports were closed because of the smoke. . . no wonder it was finally banned.

Buying fireworks in Coles, 1970

The smallest crackers were known as Tom Thumbs ...

...followed by (from memory) Happy Jacks, then Penny Bungers and finally, the largest, Twopenny (pronounce "Tuppeny") Bungers.

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