THE GAMES

                        The playground for the neighbourhood kids, and there were plenty of them, was the street in front of 138; there was no footpath or kerb and guttering, and all manner of games of the time were played there.  In the football season long kicks were played, with equal numbers at each end.  In the summer cricket was played, with always the same sheet of much-dented iron of the fence used as the wicket. marbles, or alleys as we called them, were played in their season, there didnt seem to be any laid down period when they were played, but all of a sudden all the kids would be getting out their alleys and playing big ringy, little ringy and holey; Keithy Tremelling was the best alley player of our group, and indeed a much wider group; he would sell alleys for 20 for a penny and then win them back!!  He was also a good cricketer, as indeed were all the Tremellings, and was Captain of a kids cricket team of Ray's age - it cost a penny to play each week against similar teams, mostly played on the Billy's Flat in Boughtman Street.The two pitches there were cement on which mats were laid for club games.

                        Kit and Cat was a popular game with boys; the kit was a piece of broomhandle about six inches long and tapered to a point at each end; the cat was another piece of broomhandle about two feet long.  One hit the tapered end of the kit with the cat, which caused it to fly up and it was whacked with the cat; the oponent then was given so many paces to get back to the starting point; if he did it then he took the cat.

                        Kids used to collect cigarette cards, and there was a game played with them in which a stone was tossed to a line, the kid who tossed it the nearest had first go of throwing the cards (each player had to put in an agreed number, one, two or three each) in the air; those that landed on the ground face up he kept, then the next player had a go and so on till all were won.

                        Bully on a String was another one, and I think peculiar to Broken Hill; a hole was bored through a quondong stone and a string threaded through and knotted. We didnt even have a hand drill to bore the hole and used to make one by cutting the end off a dolly peg, driving a two inch nail into it and then filing off the head to a chisel point and this made a good borer.  Many a kid punctured his thumb or forefinger with the borer through it slipping off the hard quondong starting the hole.  The kids would sit around in a circle holding the string with the bully laying on the ground in front of him; each kid in turn would have a go at smashing each other bully with his own; if he smashed a bully his bully became bully over one, if the bully he smashed was already bully over one he would take that one in his count; it was not uncommon for a bully to be bully over a hundred or more.  Big quondong nuts were sought after as they would of course be stronger and harder.

                        The girls played hopscotch, knucklebones and skippy. Hopscotch is still played  and also skippy but knucklebones seem to have gone, although plastic ones can still be bought, unfortunately having adopted the American name of "Jacks".  In those days the knucklebone out of a leg of lamb was kept and dyed different colours; in this game the girl whose turn it was scattered the bones on the ground or floor, then tossed one up and picked up one at a time, then two at a time, then one and three, then all four.  Some girls were very good at skippy and could go a long time and was good to watch, particularly if they were using a double rope.  The girls at each end would keep up a chant, one such finished, "salt, vinegar, mustard, pepper", and the girls holding the rope would turn it faster.

                        Mixed games of "Chinamen to Work", “Will You Surrender the King of the Barbecorne”, "Sheep Sheep Come Home", "Ring a Ring a Rosie", "Orange and Lemons the Bells of Clements", “Simon Says”, "Hide and Seek", commonly called simply "Hidy" were played .  Then there was "Buttons", where the kids sat around in a ring, each putting in a couple of buttons, then taking turns to try and pick them up by wetting the ball of his thumb and pressing it on the button; if it was picked up OK he kept it; it was a boys game and the buttons mostly metal pants buttons.

                        On the first of any month kids would go up to each other and say, “A pinch and a punch for the first day of the month”, and do just that.   The first of April was, and still is, April Fools Day, and kids (but not only kids) would try and fool each other by telling something had happened or been done and then if successful, would say “April fool”; I think this had to cease at midday.  Also on April Fools Day kids would pin a tail on each other without the recipient knowing it; the tail being just a strip of cloth material and the fastening agent a Bathurst burr.