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Snippets 20 April 2005
‘Bill the Buzzard’ was a colourful old character on the 3-Mile when Frank Gunnarson arrived in 1959. He only dug shafts down on the Flat where Frank also had claims. Bill never stopped talking often recounting the dance competition he had won in Queensland in earlier years. He relied on the reconditioned batteries for his car that Frank brought at bargain prices from Sydney and travelled away regularly. Last week, Bob Duggan could remember very little about his first visit to the Ridge at age 7 until we came upon the Black Hand on the 3-Mile. It all started coming back to him – his grandad, Bill, lived a bit further along in a tent. Frank says he camped just across the creek from Sadlers up towards Holden’s. Bill Duggan’s death is reported in the Flash newspaper in 1977. The Society was able to put Bob in contact with Des Wood from NZ who shared his knowledge a few years ago – ‘Bill the Buzzard’ had worked with Cyril and lived at Holden’s when he was mining at Hawk’s Nest in the 1960s. Bob had never heard ‘the Buzzard’ part of his grandad’s name but could indeed imagine how suitable it was in recalling family stories. Anybody else have memories of Bill the Buzzard? Please tell us at the Historical Society. Heritage Cottage is open Tues, Thurs – Sat, 10-4pm.

Barbara Moritz, Secretary
27 March 2006 01:16am
Snippets 13 April 2005
A late May 2004 Snippets reported the visit of Celia Denis Hull, who lived in Morilla Street in the 1930s. When last here in 1969, she found the infamous Harold Hodges, Tram-o-tel owner, living in the Denis home built by her father in 1934. In those days, the trams were situated behind today’s chemist and the Anglican Church nearly to Onyx Street. Celia noted the vacant block beside the CTC with sadness but brightened with anticipation and a promise to roust out photos of livelier times. True to her word, she has sent 100 snaps with text descriptions in an album dedicated to the Denis family. ‘Big Jim’ Denis brought his family to the opal fields in 1905. His only son, Jim ‘Son’, who spent his life in the district as a shearer and timber cutter, was Celia’s father. His portable mill provided lumber for local constructions including the second Anglican Church in 1935. This building was relocated in 1998 to Sherman’s Way and is restored as St George’s Serbian Orthodox Church. The Denis photo collection covers 100 years including snaps of ‘Big Jim’ and Cecelia’s great-great-great grandchildren. Learn more about this popular and industrious couple in our early history by joining the Historical Society. Heritage Cottage is open Tues, Thurs-Sat 10-4 weekly.

Barbara Moritz, Secretary
27 March 2006 01:16am
Snippets 6 April 2005
Lesley Buchan and her son and family attended the Good Friday’s event on the back verandah. During introductions at the opening of the Annie Thompson Collection, Lesley realized she had taught school thirty years ago with Steve Buckley, Annie grandson, who was sitting next to her. They have renewed their friendship because of the Lightning Ridge connection then and now. Amongst Annie Thompson’s photos is a greeting card designed around miners assembled in front of the Watty Vause Store at Nettleton. Lesley’s grandfather, William Digby, has signed in the corner. He was known for his artistic talent especially in making opal mosaics at White Cliffs. He arrived on the 3-Mile prior to the arrival of the Alfred Thompson family. Another snap of Annie in front of Richard Conlin’s Store at Nettleton is of interest to Lesley and her family. In 1911, Digby married Conlin’s daughter, Agnes, at Gooraway. Their third child, Daphne, was Lesley Buchan’s mother. History is full of surprises! Join the Historical Society to learn more.

Barbara Moritz, Secretary
27 March 2006 01:15am
Snippets 31 March 2005
When Arthur ‘Pat’ Buckley was here at Easter to dedicate his mother Annie Thompson’s photo postcard collection to the town, he discovered more cousins living in the Ridge. There were 15 children in his grandfather Alfred Thompson’s family. Another brother, James, and his family was also at the 3-Mile when Alfred arrived with his brood. Their younger sister was Edith Rebecca Bruce, a woman popular on the opal fields and known as’ Granny’ Bruce in later life. Her grandson, Gan, carries on the family presence in the Ridge as does her great grandson, Peter Mahony. The Alfred Thompson kids’ maternal grandmother was a Maris as was their paternal grandfather. You guessed it – Ted, the Taxi Driver, Maris is another cousin. He’s lived in the Ridge for a few years, and is known to us all. Oh, the web’s we weave! Join the Historical Society to help discover the missing links. The Heritage Cottage Hospital Gallery complex will be open on Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday, 10 – 4. Come down and have a look around and chat with our volunteers.

Barbara Moritz, Secretary

27 March 2006 01:14am
Snippets 24 March 2005
Sandy Thorne, local author and poet, will launch the newest community publication, ‘Opaladies – Stories in the Cultural Mosaic at Lightning Ridge’ Good Friday morning on the Historical Society’s back verandah. This is truly a local production! Women’s stories have been mostly collected by Cilka Zagar and edited by Yours Truly. Margie Schofield has illustrated the 84-page paperback and Gale Collins of the newly opened Black Queen, has done the cover layout. Copies will be on sale for $10. Then, the Annie Thompson Collection of 1910 photos will be dedicated. Arthur Buckley heard about his mother’s ‘rattling good times at the Ridge’ as a kid and will visit for the first time. Other Thompson family members are joining him as he explores the place of her youth 95 years ago. See you on Good Friday, 10.30, at 9 Morilla Street next to the Crocodile Caravan Park. You will enjoy perusing our miner’s cottage too!

Barbara Moritz, Secretary

27 March 2006 01:14am