Thankfully, by that stage, air conditioning was common, which made the trip across the Nullabor a bit more bearable.
The Magna also had a radio-cassette player.
In preparation for the trip, we took a stack of talking books. We had Animal Farm, Dad’s Army and Kings in Grass Castles — to name a few.
I was actually surprised by how much my children enjoyed the talking books.
Whenever we stopped for lunch, or a break, they would talk about was was happening in the book, and were always keen to get back into the story as soon as we set off again.
In between books, we took it in turn to listen to music, which usually lead to a dispute about whose turn it was pick the cassette.
I certainly listened to more Spice Girls than I would have liked, and can even sing along to some of them.
Meanwhile, my children now know more of Warren Zevon’s music than they would have prefered.
Recently I was in the car with my daughter, who is now all grown up, when she recognised one of Zevon’s song.
I said I was surprised that she knew it. She responded that she must have heard the song at least 50 times on that trip.
Today, parents strap their kids into their seats, set up their individual entertainment units, and the kids spend most of the trip watching movies, playing games or listening to music in their own little world — without any interaction with the rest of the family.
Call it progress, but I sometimes miss those trips and the family time we spent together.