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‘Goodbye, Crackernight’ – a shared memoir of the 70s

8 March 2009

“Goodbye, Crackernight”, a comic memoir of growing up in 1970s Australia, will be published in September ’09 through Sid Harta Publishing.  Please click on the above Comments link to view some of the really excellent response we’ve had to the book excerpts. And please feel free to leave your own!


57 Comments leave one →
  1. Caroline permalink
    9 March 2009 4:26 pm

    A lovely read going on the samples! Will certainly buy it when it comes out. Please keep us informed.

  2. Sharyn (Sydney) permalink*
    10 March 2009 3:57 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) Wow! What a trip down memory lane. Absolutely brilliant. Can’t wait to read more.

  3. Maree permalink
    10 March 2009 8:57 pm

    I cannot wait to read more – you have brought back so many of my own memories – great memories of growing up in suburban Sydney. I really look forward to reading the book from cover to cover.

  4. Caroline permalink
    11 March 2009 1:42 pm

    Awesome. Have just ordered a copy from booktopia.

  5. Ruth permalink
    13 March 2009 9:49 am

    What a great read! So many memories came rippling back as I read excerpts from the book. The author has the knack of sharing personal memories which ring bells with the reader – what a talent !!

  6. Justin Sheedy - author permalink*
    13 March 2009 2:12 pm

    Thank you to everyone who’s posted comments or emailed me in this first week of this blogsite. Also to those who’ve placed advance orders through Booktopia, (though please keep in mind that commercial quantities of the book are not yet available as it’s in its final stage of pre-production.) My special thanks to Matt Todd for setting up this site for me last weekend: without his expertise I’d still be scratching my head in technophobic frustration, sobbing and spluttering into my keyboard, a grown man weeping – pathetic!

    A test printing run of the book is just about to be sent by Sid Harta Publishers to a bunch of publishing industry reviewers, also to their distributors for commercial appraisal of the book. If all goes well, then “Goodbye, Crackernight” should then be published in earnest.

    Here’s hoping the reviewers/distributors have the same response to the book that I’ve had so far from all of you: I couldn’t have hoped for any better. I believe it’s the subject matter, the minutiae of growing up in 70s suburban Australia that so appeals to our generation. The thing is, “Goodbye, Crackernight” is not simply MY story of growing up, it’s an account of a shared childhood. It’s OUR story.

    So thanks to all of you as well as to the hundreds of people over the past few years whose faces lit up whenever I so much as mentioned the subject of Crackernight or of the times through which we were lucky enough to grow up.

    Justin Sheedy

  7. Alice permalink
    14 March 2009 9:55 am

    I wish you lots of succes with this (and other) books and I’ll look for it in Dutch libraries and bookstores.

  8. Rob permalink
    14 March 2009 11:50 am

    Move over Bill Bryson !! A ripping read – looking forward to buying the book.

  9. Justin Sheedy - author permalink*
    16 March 2009 3:39 pm

    An important note to all those who’ve already placed orders for “Goodbye, Crackernight” at …

    Whereas up till today the book was listed at Booktopia as available and purchasable, suddenly it’s no longer listed at the site. Wha? Presumably the number of people placing orders for it has got their attention and they’ve realised they don’t quite have it in stock yet (as only a test-printing has been done so far).

    So if you’ve ordered a copy already, you should be receiving an email from Booktopia advising you that your order has been updated, then you check your order status on the site and it advises the order has been Cancelled. You should also find that your credit card has not been charged at all, so no worries. If anyone finds any irregularity here, please advise me on this Blog.

    In any case, all is proceeding well with the lead-up to “Goodbye, Crackernight” being published. I’d just like to add at this point that the Publishing Industry glitterati currently assessing the work re its commercial potential really are a SUPER bunch of people… Talented… Good-looking… Warm and Wonderful people… The kind of person who you see walking down the street and you just find yourself exclaiming out loud, “Ain’t it grand to see ’em!”

    So everything’s peachy.

  10. Justin Sheedy - author permalink*
    16 March 2009 4:00 pm

    Did I mention gracious, wise, kind-hearted, far-sighted and slim?

  11. Brigitte (Tasmania) permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:07 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) I will look up this book for sure.

  12. Catherine (Port Macquarie) permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:08 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) It sounds like something out of my school diary. I was there and remember it all!!! Fingers crossed it sells well (especially) to us X gens who want to travel down memory lane.

  13. Dr Tom (Queanbeyan) permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:09 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) The book will be on my list of “to get” books as it sounds quite funny (and informative).

  14. Germanus (Melbourne) permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:10 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) Growing up in the seventies ……..interesting, will read.

  15. Helen (Sydney) permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:11 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) Great. Will check the book out.

  16. Hermina (Narromine, NSW) permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:11 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) Congratulations to the author. More details please about when and which book stores my library can send an order to.

  17. John (Canberra) permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:12 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) I shall purchase a copy when it is released.

  18. Kate (Sydney) permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:13 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) Congratulations Justin!

  19. Keven permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:13 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) How I miss those days… yes, especially “crackernight” – I wish the author all the very best with his book and I will certainly purchase it and will get him to sign the cover for me!!

  20. Tim (Perth W.A.) permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:15 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) Congratulations to the author – we’ll buy the book !

  21. Tony (Sydney) permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:16 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) Best of luck to the author.

  22. Berni & Tim (Sydney, NSW) permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:51 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) Wonderful. We’ll get a copy to enjoy reminiscing.

  23. Richard permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:55 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) This book looks very interesting and will bring back memories for many people.

  24. Stephen & Suzanne permalink*
    16 March 2009 11:56 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) The book looks fantastic and reading the excerpts was like a trip down memory lane for both of us. It would be great to share with our kids as well to show them what life was like in that amazing bygone era!

  25. Coralie (Batlow) permalink*
    17 March 2009 9:35 am

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) It seems like a very interesting and humorous book – I hope it sells well.

  26. Janet (Canberra) permalink*
    17 March 2009 9:38 am

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) Just reading the abstracts brought back so many happy childhood memories.

  27. Graham (Melbourne) permalink*
    17 March 2009 9:40 am

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) Congratulations to the author ! had a few laughs as I read. We often talk about the penny bungers we set off when young and how we used them as underwater crackers and also blowing up letters boxes – just boys from that era !

  28. Steve permalink*
    18 March 2009 9:57 am

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) Nice work Justin. I got a lot of laughs. Lots of similar experiences in my youth. I think I might even buy the book and give it to some friends. Let me know when it comes out.

  29. Diana & Les (Tasmania) permalink*
    19 March 2009 8:18 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) We loved the extracts from the book ! We want a signed copy from the author.

  30. Sondra - New Zealand permalink*
    23 March 2009 10:24 am

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) The excerpts from the book are brilliant. I got a good laugh from it and it brought back a few memories. I look forward to the book coming out.

  31. Justin Sheedy - author permalink*
    23 March 2009 9:53 pm


    Today, the final (final) “Printer’s Proof” arrived in my post box. This is the book in cut pages, cover and all, just short of being bound. It was perfect.

    My heart lept.

    Did a jig, then the Twist, the Tango, then waltzed around the room like the old man asylum inmnate in “One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest”.

    I checked the Printer’s Proof, signed off on the attached form, faxed this back to the printers. Next they print test versions of the book, send them to the Publisher ( ), who sends them off (1) to their Distributor (Dennis Jones & Associates – ) who assess it for its “commercial potential”, (don’t mind if you all email both of them how much you’d like to see it in print), (2) to a range of publishing industry journals, who review it, and get back to the Publisher.

    So, the God Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, we might just see “Goodbye, Crackernight” on the bookstore shelves.

    As Norman Gunston said, “Isn’t it excoiting!”

    Oh, I got an article published on an excellent website, “1960s Psychedelic Hippie Culture and Music”, link below… See article entitled “Bloody Hippies”…

    This site is really worth a visit, run by an equally excellent bloke, Dr Robert Muller, based in South Australia. It features a veritable metric shitload of good articles and pics on a fascinating era, contributors from all over the world.

    Once again, thanks to all of you who’ve posted comments here, emailed your support etc.

    Justin Sheedy

  32. Leslie (Batlow, NSW) permalink*
    24 March 2009 8:54 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) I read the blurb – how fantastic. Good on the author and I hope he sells lots of books – many of his anecdotes rang a hugely nostalgic bell for
    me. CLANG !!! I remember as a kid playing “Commandos” in the backyard too !! I’m going to tell all my friends to buy the book.

  33. Justin Sheedy - author permalink*
    31 March 2009 3:38 pm


    Dearest Bloggers.

    Today the test-printings of “Goodbye, Crackernight” arrived in me post box. The Publisher has confirmed he’s received his. Now he sends them off to the Distributors for commercial assessment, as well as to a string of Australian publishing industry journals for their reviews.

    So, dear Bloggers, join with me now in prayer to Bruceos, the Ancient Greek God of Getting What You Want, that these publishing industry Glitterati see DOLLAR SIGNS.

    And now, let us pray.

    Justin Sheedy.

  34. Leslie and Don (Maitland) permalink*
    2 April 2009 9:46 pm

    (Posted by Justin from Email received) When’s it in our local bookshop? Angus and Robertson.

  35. David permalink
    5 April 2009 12:19 pm

    Mate, I’ll take the ‘Pepsi Challenge’. The book sounds like a hoot and beats those ‘time warp’ emails that hit my inbox. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  36. 6 April 2009 9:04 am


    Sid Harta Publishing now have us up on their website.



    Click on the link below.

    PS. The cover graphic is also scrolling on the right-hand side of their home page, under “Latest Galley Releases”.

  37. Justin Bowra permalink
    7 April 2009 2:57 pm

    Good work mate! I’m looking forward to reading it, though I thought I’d wait until I could find a copy in the book exchange [just for that true 70s feel of smelly 2nd hand yellowed pages]

  38. 15 April 2009 2:48 pm

    The SYDNEY WRITERS’ CENTRE ARE HELPING US! (What wonderful people.)

    Please click on the link below to check out the kind mention the SWC has posted re “Goodbye, Crackernight” on their Blog. It’s entitled PUBLISHING SUCCESS. (Well, here’s hoping…)

    Their home page…

    Once again, my thanks to them.

  39. 23 April 2009 10:47 pm

    An excellent person named Livvy (with taste to match) has given us a mention on her blog. (She MUST be an excellent soul: She starts her spiel “I ADORE BATMAN”.) Please check it out, and her site: This girl is a really nice writer with great insights into an important piece of pop culture. Click on the link below…

    Oh, and check her comment on my Draft Book Cover page, the first I’ve had… Interesting… Click on the link…

  40. 25 April 2009 11:04 am

    Dr Robert Muller has posted another of my articles on his site, “1960s Hippy Music and Culture”, link below. It’s entitled “They Didn’t Play Their Own Instruments”, a tribute to pop culture phenomenon, The Monkees – TV show and band, an important little influence in my childhood and discussed in the book.

    Hope you enjoy it and thanks once again to the good Doctor.

  41. 28 April 2009 2:29 pm



    The Publisher just emailed this to me. Seeing that it was a Review, before opening it, my heart stuck slap bang in my mouth. I sat down. I thought I’d better.

    Here it is…


    Goodbye Crackernight
    Justin Sheedy
    Sid Harta

    What a cracker of a book this is. It’s full of memorabilia from the days when you had to amuse yourself without the use of electronic devices. I, together with the author, am pleased we lived and remember the 1970’s.

    Cracker Night was just one of the annual events we looked forward to as youngster, along with Christmas and birthdays. If you mention the words, Cracker Night, today’s kids would look at you in a strange way and think you were ‘crackers’, or in today’s term, ‘off your head’.

    Kids would also continue to look at you in a queer way if mentioned the joy you had watching a catherine wheel, a throw down, or a roman candle. All of these are now gone, thanks to those fools who mistreated the responsibility of letting off those wonderful crackers, as we all watched them go up in a puff of smoke.

    Justin Sheedy describes some of the antics he got up to at preschool and the tales from big school also a hoot. He went off to big school holding his mother’s hand, watching other kids bawling their eyes out… not Justin, off he went straight up to his new teacher and sat down next to his first mate Seamus which is pronounced Shaymuth.

    This is the life and times of Justin Sheedy a man who has a deep dark secret. When he was three, he admits to having nude Barbie dolls that were hand me downs and were commonly known as the nudy rudies. Was this his introduction to sex, or was it the two teenagers doing a little more than just plain kissing in the back seat of an FJ Holden?

    All in all though, Justin describes those innocent playtime incidents with joy, especially when it rained and the streets were flooded, the gutters overflowed with water, and boats were made out of paddle pop sticks.

    Justin admits the kids of today are probably more techno sound, but he and his friends don’t care anyway, they had more fun.

    “What a cracker of a book – you’ll cack yourself laughing at the times when you made your own fun. Justin and his friends give you the opportunity to experience life in the 70’s ”

    * * *

    Well, dear readers… Thank heavens for THAT.
    More news as it comes to hand.

  42. 28 April 2009 5:25 pm

    Woo. Hoo. Morrow’s review is now officially up on the Sid Harta Publishing site. Click on the link below.

  43. Hoang permalink
    5 May 2009 8:32 am

    Hilarious. Can’t wait to get a copy of the book.

  44. 7 May 2009 10:36 pm


    By Wendy O’Hanlon

    Goodbye Crackernight
    By Justin Sheedy

    For all those baby-boomers out there, this book is pure warm and fuzzy nostalgia – page after page after page.

    Remember when, as a child, there were three highlights of the year – your birthday, Christmas and cracker night.
    Remember when fun cost nothing, going barefoot, bicycle riding, roller skates, building your own billy cart and running carefree around the neighbourhood. Remember the orange mix called Tang, lime Quik, chip butties. Remember the record player and Top 40 singles, pet rocks, The Seekers. Remember Romper Room; rushing home from school to watch the afternoon TV shows and cartoons such as The Roadrunner, The Monkees, The Thunderbirds.

    Remember the TV cop shows such as Division Four and Homicide. And who can forget the neighbourhood star – the Valiant Charger.

    Goodbye Crackernight is a huge dose of nostalgia told with great humour and fond memories. Remember your best buddies, your first kiss, your first fight. If you can remember any of these things, you will love this book. It’s a walk down memory lane – great to be a child and teenager again!

    Wendy O’Hanlon – Journalist

  45. 15 May 2009 12:12 pm

    Hi, all. I have just posted some short stories on the blog. Click below to have a read.

  46. 16 May 2009 10:23 am

    Just had another article published online. James Bond fans, click the below link…

  47. steve permalink
    19 May 2009 3:38 am

    what a top read, it sums up my life as a child growing up inthe 70s.
    my father owned a 1973 charger and i remember every cracker night building a bonfire in the paddoc behind my house.
    i still have fireworks put away that i have had since 1979.

  48. steve permalink
    19 May 2009 3:42 am

    top read, will look for it in book stores.

  49. 21 May 2009 9:45 pm

    Steve. You still have those fireworks put away since 1979. Let’s set them off.

  50. steve permalink
    22 May 2009 6:11 pm

    sorry mate, you cant find fireworks of that vintage any more.
    thats why iv never let them of, i have two 20 shot ball shooters, double parrachute, sky rockets and tom thumbs just to name a few.
    cheers mate.

  51. 22 May 2009 6:40 pm

    I am weeping bitterly as I write this. What a treasure trove! 20-shot ball shooters! And sky rockets – talk about rare and valuable objects. (I only ever saw about two, on my very first Crackernights.) My story traces in detail the demise of all of these things, one by one, year to year.

  52. steve permalink
    23 May 2009 10:12 am

    cheer up mate, i have plenty of sky rockets and would send you sum but i dont think you can send fireworks by post.
    its good to chat to you.

  53. steve permalink
    3 June 2009 3:12 pm

    g’day mate, i can’t find you book anywhere, is it in book stores yet.

  54. 3 June 2009 4:45 pm

    Hi, Steve. No, not in stores yet, but soon. Believe me, watch this Blog for a special new Post any day now. (Things are going well on the way to publishing…)

  55. 5 June 2009 5:35 pm

    See the new Post on the main Blog page. Publishing Deal signed. (Yeehaa!)

  56. John permalink
    26 January 2010 8:16 am

    wow…..those were the days….north epping has never been the same since….bring back crackernight i say!

  57. 26 January 2010 8:37 am

    Good on You, John. And happy Australia Day. And you grew up in North Epping? What street?

    Oh, and, if you still live in the Sydney metro area and you’re by a radio today between 10 and 12noon, I’m doing an interview on 2RRR FM 88.5 with an excellent person called Maggie Mason. We’ll talk about “Goodbye Crackernight” plus play music from the 70s era.

    Hope you have a great day off

    Justin Sheedy.

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