We had our Union Christmas Party on the weekend here in Moranbah. And, as always, it was fantastic!
The kids had an absolute ball. Who wouldn’t? Sample Bags, food and drink,
crazy fairy floss, snow cones, ice cream, rides, giant slide, jumping castles, camels, SANTA and Fireworks! And the adults weren’t left out either, with a live band and bar tent.
It’s exhausting just thinking about it. Probably why my kids and their sleep over mates slept until 11 the next day.
December always heralded Town Party time for the Mining Towns in CQ. Town Party was essentially the same as our Union Party now. But will far less restrictions.
In Tieri, it was a free party for workers and their families and as well as having all of the above mentioned (well, on a smaller 80’s/90’s scale), families were also able to head down early, set up a tarp with their 2nd best lounge chairs, eskys and snacks, and kick back on the hill for the afternoon, evening, and sometimes, night.
It was fantastic.
Awesome as a kid, running about in a frenzy to get to everything, going on the chair swing and instantly remembering why you NEVER go on the chair swing, riding the pony’s, getting your present and lolly’s from Santa, playing in the bush, watching the fireworks*, collecting parachutes from the fireworks (in reality, just empty fireworks cartridges) and finally finding your parents at whoever’s tent they may be at, to beg for more time!
Then as a teenager, well, Town party took on a whole new level of awesomeness.
We’d still do the rides and play out bush. There was a big concrete pipe at the back of the footy oval where Town Party was held, traversing a prickle filled canyon/ditch, it was a top teen hangout (underage smoking, boy/girl canoodling. Lots of laughs and the occasional blue. Good times). But when fireworks rolled around it was different.
It was always the time I wished I had a boyfriend. So romantic. Darkness, Fireworks, Holidays. Awwww.
Sadly, I think I only ever had a boyfriend for one Town Party Fireworks. And I don’t think I could find him when the lights went out (there was no warning shot in those days, you’d be playing and running about, little ones far from their parents on the hill, then boom, total darkness and an explosion in the sky. Terrifying for the unprepared). So again, I ooohed and ahhhed, alone.
Further on the end of the teen scale, Town Party stepped it up again.
Rides were no longer of any great interest, the pipe out bush was abandoned, and the band became pretty important. Though not as important as what was in your esky, or your mates esky, or any esky.
We’d flutter from tent to tent, visiting our mates, boozing on and finding the best tent to be at. The one with the comfiest lounges, best music (even though there was still a band), craziest people, etc.
At any age, it was a fantastic night, and sadly, as rules and regulations came in, another iconic event was altered beyond repair.
There is no more setting up your own space, or bringing your own food or drinks, the whole place is fenced off and it’s a very different Town Party to the ones we knew.
But so many great memories remain.
Our Union party is a sentinel to what once was, and yeah, it’s no Town Party, but it comes close. So thankyou to our Unions for preserving a piece of mining town history.
And thankyou to the showies on the tea cups over the weekend who were playing Def Leopard. Made my flashbacks even clearer!
*Santa would come in a different way every year. I remember him sky diving in, how fantastic! And he would give out lolly’s and gifts to all the kids, under 13 (over 13’s got a disco). Anyway, one year he came on a fire truck, and all the kids chased him around the oval as he threw lolly’s and ho ho ho’d. How wonderful you say? Yes, but. Every. Single. Year. The fireworks would result in a fire in the bush at the back of the oval. Sometimes worse than others. This particular year, a fairly large fire was underway, resulting in the fire brigade having to come and put it out. Having now learnt to associate fire trucks with Santa and lolly’s, well, you can guess the mayhem that ensued with the kids at the party.