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Snippets 18 June 2003
Angledool’s schoolmaster from 1890-1914 was Arthur Paddison. Recently, his granddaughter, Shirley Mackie from Sydney, paid the district a visit for the third time in as many years on the trail of family history.

Shirley’s father wrote an article describing a coach ride he made in 1910 from Angledool to East Collarenebri, known today as Pokataroo, the railhead to/from Sydney until the line got washed out in the 1950s flood.

Whatever the decade, a wet black soil road is treacherous, and Shirley’s father’s coach ride took 2 ½ days, most of which he walked beside the team!

We met Ernie Earl from Collarenebri out on the original site of the Moongulla Post Office and Coach Station when Gran Earl offered meals to passengers.

Later, Ernie’s family lived in the second Post Office where he grew up. He walked us around, describing the layout of buildings, and told the stories passed down to him. His great grandad is the founder of Collarenebri!

The day was beautiful for fossicking through the remnants of the blacksmith shop and old hotel that burned in 1917.

Twisted iron and broken glass remind us of a once busy place. We dipped our hands in the Moongulla tank at the bore head, where the Earl kids swam regularly.

An old iron wheel from a machine at the wool scour is stuck in the earth. Ernie reminisced about stories he’d heard of the market gardens located on Warwick Farms, as it was known, after the bore went down in 1901.

‘Manchester’ is on this site today. The little annex attached to the homestead was paid for by the government and served as the third Post Office. The phone lines from Lightning Ridge went via Moongulla to Walgett right into the 1950s.

When Shirley visited last year, we stopped at Dungle Bore and Yeranbah, both coach stations closer to Angledool and mentioned in her father’s article. Buildings remain on the latter site as one approaches the homestead from the road.

The shed itself has been more recently a garage. The men’s loo is standard-issue but the ‘Ladies’ is quite rustic with its scallop-framed entrance to a two-seater for mother and daughter (one presumes!). Just another step back in time…..

P.S. The AGM will be held Sunday, June 29th, at 4.30 on the Cottage Hospital verandah.
27 March 2006 00:16am
Snippets 11 June 2003
Centenary Medals were awarded to several Walgett Shire citizens, who were acknowledged at Saturday's Reconciliation Day. One of our Historical Society members, June Moore, received her Medal at Paddington Town Hall from Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG and Mr Peter King MP. June was honoured for fifty years of voluntary research and 'service to the community through local building preservation and heritage'.

June is making a place for herself in this town too. During the winter months, she resides at and helps care take the Astronomers' Monument on the Ridge red car door explorer tour. This attraction was saved from vandalism after Polish Alex' death by June's family, who have opened the interior-exhibition for inspection and have built a caretaker's cottage for enjoying our delightful winter weather.

June's interest in preserving heritage buildings commenced when she became a foundation member of Randwick & District Historical Society. She served 20 years as Secretary, succeeding her mother, the founder of that society, in this position.

Her first 'preservation' project was at Bare Island Fort, off La Perouse in Botany Bay, back in the 1960s. To protect the 1885 fort from vandalism after the resident War Veterans vacated, June and her family moved into the Fort quarters. She worked with other volunteers to set up an exhibition on the History of Botany Bay that is now under the control of the National Parks & Wildlife Service.

She wrote the first 'walking history tour' of the Rocks in Sydney. This was followed by a 'Randwick Ramble' - a walking tour of the historic sites of Randwick. Many mansions and early buildings were demolished in Randwick for red brick 'home units' in the 1960s. One property threatened was the 1840s 'Blenheim House', home of Randwick's first mayor.

June organised and formed a lobby group, 'Friends of Blenheim' to gain funds to restore the dilapidated sandstone Georgian residence. After years of campaigning, the Municipal Council purchased the property, but the 'Friends' had to raise thousands of dollars for preservation and restoration. It is now beautifully restored and open four times a year to the public.

In June's other life in the city, she initiated some Waverly shopkeepers into a 'Restorers of Charing Cross' group. Hopefully, the occupants of classic old shops can re-create the 1880 to 1920s era using heritage paint colours. This could encourage local neighbourhood shopping when movement is towards modern shopping malls.

At 84 (in July), June Moore is one of our nation's treasured volunteers - she receives no pay, not because she is worthless, but because she is priceless! Her Centenary Medal is a valued badge of her dedication to making our world a better place.
Barbara Moritz, Secretary

P.S. The Annual General Meeting will be held June 29 at 4.30pm in the Cottage Hospital. Watch the sandwich0board on the footpath.

Opal and Fossil Centre: Open AT LAST, two days weekly ... (Anyone with speciments, we would like to show them.)
27 March 2006 00:15am
Snippets 3 June 2003
Do you have plans to be in Sydney the second week in July? Why not plan to join us for the marking of Charlie Nettleton’s grave at Rookwood on July 9th. This is an appropriate memoriam to the man whom we credit for the birth of the black opal industry just 100 years ago.

The Charlie Nettleton Fund instigated by local Dave Galman has paid for the bronze plaque, and we are calling all Friends of Lightning Ridge and/or Nettleton to join us for a short celebration of his life at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, 9th of July.

We’ve a plan of directions to reach the spot, so anyone interested, please come to Heritage Cottage on a Tuesday, Friday or Saturday in the next few weeks or contact the Secretary. Should you pass along this information to someone who would like to attend, just let us know and we’ll forward the travel information.

Charles Waterhouse Nettleton died in June 1946. His grave is easy to find and is well looked after. It is about time we marked the spot! Hope you can join us on the day.

27 March 2006 00:15am
Snippets 27 May 2003
Calling all opal book lovers! You will want to get your Special Edition copies of Len Cram’s newly released coffee table books, ‘ Beautiful Lightning Ridge’ and ‘Beautiful Boulder Opal, the Exquisite Gem’.

The Lightning Ridge book presents current photos of features in our town and the opal we find. They are as fresh and harmoniously displayed as we have come to expect in Len’s repertoire of publications. Our early history weaves through the pages, complemented by the spectacular ‘moments in colour’ that Len captures so well in his photographs.

The Boulder book is equally impressive in its freshness of colourful photos, particularly of the oldest opal mine, ‘Pride of the Hills’, 1871. Once again, Len has used top quality paper and printing techniques to produce two remarkable books that you will want to own, and/or send to friends and family.

You can purchase your signed copies of ‘Beautiful Lightning Ridge’ and ‘Beautiful Boulder Opal, the Exquisite Gem’, both Special Editions, for $10 each at Saturday’s Reconciliation Day celebration, Spider Brown Oval, 10-5pm. Watch for the Historical Society’s table!

27 March 2006 00:14am
Snippets 20 May 2003
Gwen and John Allport, well known by old-timers in the Ridge, are amazed at the changes in the place since the Back to School Days in 1988. They also enjoyed catching up with Uncle Bob Molyneux and other family members.

John was born here, and remembers fossicking in the old chipping heaps and exploring the ruins of ‘Old Town’. Today, this site on Ernie Sherman Way has been subdivided. In 1935, his father, Roy, contracted to rebuild the Anglican Church, now St George’s Serbian Orthodox Church.

His mother, Queenie, often housed the Bush Brothers in the 1950s and manned the BNA when there was no nurse.

Although Gwen didn’t grow up here, her father, Percy Brown, spent time in Lightning Ridge with his parents, who arrived in 1908 with some of his siblings. He was working on the railway up in Queensland when he met his wife. Their first child was born in the Ridge, late 1920s. They settled in Toowoomba where four more children were born, Gwen being the youngest.

John was pleased to see himself with his siblings at a 1930s birthday party in our current photo exhibit, ‘Our Bush Nurse: Gracious Gem on the Opal Fields’. The Allports are keen to sort through their family photos after seeing those held at the Society. Some of ours complement theirs, so it will be a fair exchange.

Heritage Cottage Hospital Gallery is open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10-4pm, or by arrangement.
27 March 2006 00:13am