Summer Childhood in Australia

Growing up under Australian SkiesMy summer childhood memories are of vast expanses of holidays, beach road trips, buffalo bill dripping down my arm, parents complaining of a heat I did not feel, bitchumen burning bare feet, laughing with my friends, humid nights underneath whirring fans and afternoon storms.

I was thinking about which of these memories my boys will have and what has changed.

      1. As a kid, running under the sprinkler was a summer staple. Swim suits were optional. Years of water restrictions mean that I am twitchy about turning on the sprinkler – I have no idea if we are allowed to use them at the moment. Modern life makes me wary of the kids running around without anything on outside. It seems a real shame. On the up side, we have so many great outdoor water parks that didn’t exist when I was a kid – Southbank, Wynnum and Rocks Riverside to name a few.

      2. Mum had an old Mitsubishi Colt followed by an ageing Ford Escort. Neither had air conditioning or electric windows. On a hot day, you would get in the car and have to play chicken with your seatbelt and window handle to avoid first degree burns. You had to wind down the window really quickly to get the air in and at same time avoid the metal that had reached blistering temperatures. Now, we turn the air conditioning on and wait a few minutes before getting in the car. I think I like the new way better.

      3. For a while in Brisbane, every afternoon would be lit up by a summer storm. The air would grow heavy and the sky would crack open. It often happened just as we got home from school. It seems like the storms are on the return but my boys aren’t quite as in love with them as I am. The afternoon of the hailstorm probably didn’t help.

      4. Watermelons and mangoes are the taste of my childhood summer. My sister and I would sit on our little deck and compete as to who could spit the black seeds furtherest. My little guys love watermelon but Master I complains if there are any white seeds in his.  I say “back in my day, we had black seeds to contend with,” and I hitch up my granny pants and feel about one hundred and twenty.

      5. Back in the seventies and eighties, some sadist decided that metal was an appropriate material to make childrens’ slides out of. It was always a bit of a dare as to who would slide first and take the brunt of the heat. I am quite glad that my children don’t get blisters from playground equipment these days. Just REALLY really dirty in the mulchy ground cover.

      6. My family spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ beach house as a kid. There was always a discussion as to whether or not we would wear thongs or just go barefoot to the beach. We often decided against it – bare feet with thickened soles being somewhat of a badge of honour. We would race along the burning sand to get to the sweet relief of the waves. That hasn’t really changed. I just seem to be carrying a lot more stuff now.

      7. For a few blissful summers in Brisbane we had daylight savings. I remember roller-blading down the hill in front of our house at 8pm at night and thinking it was truly the best idea ever. Then someone’s curtains faded and someone else had confused cows and that was the end of that. At least we can holiday on the Northern NSW coast and enjoy it for a week or two.

      8. On really hot days, there would be a line in front of our family fridge. Not for any particular food but for the sweet icy blast. Now, we have air conditioned houses and pricey electricity bills.

What things do you remember? What has changed? What do you wish you could bring back?


This Australia Day I am linking up with Cooker and a Looker’s Australia Day Party – loads of awesome Australian flavoured blog posts are hanging out there, tucking into Amanda’s deliciously ‘Strayan shaped pavlova. You should probably go check it out.


8 thoughts on “Summer Childhood in Australia

  1. Creatingw/KaraDavies (@MamaJillaroo) says:

    Drinking from the garden hose, water balloon fights, the fun of mom cracking open that first box of popsicles and getting first dibs on flavors, bike riding til all hours with the rest of the neighbor kids, lots of bbqs, church summer camps down the cost of Oregon, maybe visiting my cousin in New York for her summer camp, then she visiting me for my summer camp, perhaps a church family camping trip towards the end of summer, then school starting in September.

    • Robyna says:

      Awesome memories. We had loads of church camps too – but they were only ever a week long – I think the summer camps in the US are longer (based on my recollections of the Baby Sitter’s Club books!)

  2. Shauna says:

    Gee this made me smile. First visit to your blog via the Australia Day Party link up. I love daylight savings as a NSW dweller. Did live in Brisbane for 8 years though and don’t miss those 4.30am sunrises (maybe a slight exaggeration). I often think about those long hot summers without air con. How spoilt are we now? I’ve linked a post about my memories too and wondered about what my kids will remember – “Get outside and be Australian! O’right?” Really enjoyed your post 🙂

    • Robyna says:

      Hello! I just popped on over to your place Shauna (I took a lamington with me) – loved your post. I am so glad that some memories – like camping and the beach – I am handing down to my boys. I guess they can live without hot box cars!

    • Robyna says:

      Oh – I know – we were so dangerous in retrospect. I remember the coconut reef oil and sizzling in it (with lemon in my hair just for the complete beach babe effect).

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