Australian Plastic Fabricators – Silverwater, NSW

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Now, before any employees of Australian Plastic Fabricators read this and panic – this place is still in business. But for once we’re not interested in the business itself.

For those of you no longer in primary school, it may surprise you to learn that the SIDS and Kids organisation’s Red Nose Day event is still going. A major fundraising initiative to help the fight against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), Red Nose Day involves (at least, it did when I was in primary school) buying a plastic red clown-like nose to wear all day, with the money going to SIDS and Kids. Even as a kid, I had a hard time marrying up the concepts of SIDS research and wearing a red nose. I get the idea of being “silly for a serious cause”, but why a red nose? Wouldn’t a rainbow or comically oversized nose be even sillier? Personally, I was always disappointed that the noses didn’t honk. Maybe that was the deluxe model.

During my school years it became a phenomenon akin to the Starlight Christmas ornament scramble. On the last Friday of every June kids went wild for these red noses, and anyone who missed out was for the rest of the day shunned nearly as badly as the kids who dared to wear their red nose the following Monday. I don’t know that many of us actually understood that there was a charity behind the clowning – I suspect had they known they might not have been as enthusiastic.

But for the first ten years or so of its existence, Red Nose Day exploded into the national psyche. You’d see newsreaders, politicians, shopkeepers, anyone who wanted to be seen to be doing some good (or anyone who’d be laughed at anyway) would don the red nose…and always, always Red Symons.

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These REALLY should have honked.

It took off to the extent that SIDS and Kids started producing red noses for cars. For that one wacky day you could surrender your car’s dignity for a good cause, and many, many people did. So ubiquitous was Red Nose Day in my youth, yet so sudden was its disappearance once I reached high school that I was kind of amazed to learn it was still going. Certainly at this Silverwater factory, it’s been Red Nose Day every day for years.

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At the height of Red Nose Day mania, SIDS and Kids took the bold step of producing red noses for buildings. This was a risky move: SIDS and Kids had to be sure that the recognition factor of the event was so high that people would know what the hell they were looking at when they saw a giant red dome on the side of any building zany enough to go with it. Maybe this was the case in 1996, but these days, the fading red growth attached to Australian Plastic Fabricators of Silverwater (a suburb no stranger to red noses) doesn’t even give cause for a double take.

That said, I’m sure there are some babies out there who owe their lives to AusPlasFab’s brave choice years ago to look the fool amongst the hardened plastic fabrication industry. By the aged look of this nose, those kids are probably old enough to work here now.

SIDS and Kids’ Red Nose Day will be held again this year (its 25th anniversary) on the last Friday in June. Do your bit and make sure that the only red noses attached to cars this year aren’t those obnoxious Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer ones.

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