The year was 1951 when I was 12 years old, we children and grown-ups celebrated Empire Day 24th May by building a large bonfire for all our close friends and family and local community to enjoy.

Just down the street from where I lived there was a large vacant block of land and close by a large forest of trees. Weeks prior to the exciting night all the local kids spent many happy hours after school and on the weekends cutting and collecting all the dead wood and branches from the forest.

We started with a large pole dug into the ground in the centre and placed all the dead wood and branches around the pole to form a mass of burnable material approximately 3.6m high and 3m wide.

To make things easy, I had a pony (Donny) and I made a harness so we could attach all the dead branches to enable Donny to pull the load up the hill for a group of helpers who would place the branches around the pole ready for the big night.

After all our hard work, on Empire Night 24th May, we all gathered with great excitement to light the fire which I am sure would have been seen a long way off. While the fire was burning we wrapped potatoes in silver foil and put them in the fire and when they were cooked we enjoyed eating them with lots of butter and enjoyed drinking our Billy tea.

As well as the fire we have saved our pocket money and bought a lot of fireworks; sparklers, bungers, sky rockets and spinning wheels which made a very enjoyable and fun night.

It was a wonderful way to celebrate what a great Empire we have here in Australia. A great and wonderful time together was had by all and we looked forward to the following year.”