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Are We There Yet?

Do you remember childhood holidays with the family in the 50s and 60s?

They generally included long road trips by car, sometimes with a caravan in tow, and the only entertainment was provided by mum, usually sitting in the front seat next to dad, as he drove the car on to the destination.

Kenny Peplow sent in this photo from "about 50 years ago, this is how we went on the family holiday"

Kenny Peplow sent in this photo from “about 50 years ago, this is how we went on the family holiday”

Unlike today where kids can choose from a plethora of digital games and gadgets, we filled the time playing games such as ‘Spotto’, I spy with my little eye and Riddle-me Riddle-me Ree. There were lots of arguments between siblings about who was taking too much space and eventually all the kids joined in the chorus to ask repeatedly, “Are we there yet?…..Are we there yet?

There were no seat belt regulations then and the only air conditioning on a 40+ degree day was to wind down the four windows to let the hot air flow through the car.

My own recollections of childhood school holidays includes mile after mile on the gravel roads of Pitchi Ritchi Pass as it wound its way through the beautiful Finders Ranges through Quorn, Hawker and on to Wilpena Pound, big old cast iron beds with steel springs and flocking mattresses, the smell of lavender from the heavy old wardrobes and chests of drawers.

There was always an old maiden aunt who smelled of powder and made a pot of tea, served in china cups with home-made biscuits and buttered jubilee cake.

Another photo from Kenny's album; "Dad's FJ taxi (with water bag on the front) returns from a trip in the Flinders Ranges. As a kid where did your family take it's holidays?"

Another photo from Kenny’s album; “Dad’s FJ taxi (with water bag on the front) returns from a trip in the Flinders Ranges. As a kid where did your family take it’s holidays?”

Adelaide Remember When Facebook poster Carolyn Swannson also remembers travelling to the Flinders Ranges as a child on holidays; “It was in our lime green Holden Kingswood with us 3 kids in the back seat playing ‘I Spy’ on the way. We camped in a Gorge (which you can’t do now) in our caravan & heated up the water for showers on the fire. Such simple, no fuss, non- expensive holidays back then and a heap of fun”!

As the mid-1960s rolled around Golden Fleece service stations introduced roadhouse-style outlets with restaurants and for the first time there was somewhere to break the long and tedious family journey.  An advertisement from a Golden Fleece brochure about their roadhouses from the era talks about the family road trip to distant places ‘being a part of Aussie life in the 60s and 70s’.

BP Spotto, played this for hours during long car trips with the rest of the family

BP Spotto, played this for hours during long car trips with the rest of the family

Many readers might even recall the TV commercials with ‘Stanley’ who offered “golden service at Golden Fleece”.

After a whole day in the car and even though they represented added expense, the roadhouses were eagerly looked forward to, not just by the children but the travel weary parents as well.

So much has changed now with the family touring holiday. Cars are bigger, more comfortable and fitted with all the latest safety equipment, seat belts for all, air conditioning and some even have individual DVD screens for the children in the back seats. There are also iPads and iPhones, tablets or hand held mini-computers on which to watch movies, play games and listen to music.

There is so much for the kids to do while travelling in the back seat now.

And yet, I saw a new television commercial recently, new car, modern day family and there was still the chorus from the kids in the back ….”Are we there yet?….Are we there yet?

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2 Responses to Are We There Yet?

  1. michele nooteboom January 24, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    “Mum, He’s looking out my window!!” after 6+ hours . . . Yes we played spotto, and the first to see an emu, or kangaroo (depending on where we were travelling) meant you could open the bag of peanuts. Making sentences out of number plates. The car manual instructions read “to operate air conditioning” open windows.
    We travelled far and often as my parents were members of the Adelaide Gem and Mineral club. Great adventures!!
    the smaller the dot on the map, the bigger chance of going there!

  2. Brian January 30, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    Never heard any the statement at all in the 50s “are we there yet” Confabulation man. Exporting 2000s rubbish onto the past. Soft in the head!

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