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Historical Society News
Some of the distinguished visitors were Carol and Neville Norris, past principal 1958-60, as well as Neville's little brother Paul, who attended school during part of that time. Unna and Jack Attwood, past principal 1949 to 1953, were represented by their children, Beth and John and spouses. Both families plus Barry Graves, past principal 1964-1967, donated personal photographs and memorabilia for displays. Jenny and Jacquie Molyneux, pupils in the 1960s, joined family and friends. The Waterfords celebrated.
Several 1940s past pupils were in town to catch-up with each other and local classmates. They included Norma and Mervyn Dawson with spouses; Connie, Colleen and Robyn Cooper (of Cooper's Cottage), escorted by Connie's husband Cleve; Mary Voller Buckley and John; Mary and Lawrence Boules and his nephew Greg and family; Siblings Betty and Tommo Bruce; Don Reeves was back in town.
Two 1930s pupils returned for festivities. Nola Denis Rennie visited for the first time in 70 years. She travelled from Castle Hill with her son and wife, and they also visited Denis family graves in Walgett Cemetery. Nola's grandparents came to the opal fields in 1905 and, in 1935, Nola's father Jim Denis helped rebuild St George's Church of England (today's St George's Serbian Orthodox Church). He had built their house, later Harold Hodge's home, on the land now vacant, next to the chemist.
Mal and Elvie Spicer drove up from Parkes for the weekend. They are regular visitors as Mal's home still stands in Morilla Street, known as the Graham Brothers' hut by long-time Ridgeites. Today, it's called Heritage Cottage and he gets nostalgic when he walks in the door – those happy times even though Depression years.
Into the 1970s, as the village population gained services and grew, the Lightning Ridge School increased its staff of teachers. Several attended the Centenary weekend, many back for the first time, and they enjoyed seeing the achievements of today's Central School, not to mention the town. For instance, a couple of the 'girls' taught at the school when the pool was built on the grounds so were totally amazed at the Aqua Centre, impressive in anybody's books. They were pleased to get reacquainted with their former pupils and promised they'd not leave it 30 years before they returned to the Ridge!
All and all, the Centenary weekend was enjoyed by all who participated. If you missed out on a name-paver, the second round is being offered. You can pick up an order form at Heritage Cottage until the school term takes up the week of 7 October.
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