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Snippets 13 September 2006
Migration Memories: Lightning Ridge has ended after two weeks in Heritage Cottage Hospital Gallery. The exhibition is the result of a yearlong collaboration between the Historical Society, Lightning Ridge & Region Transcultural Community and the Opal & Fossil Centre and a research project involving the Australian National University and the National Museum of Australia.

Things are back to normal in the front window of the BNA with Nurse Lucy dusted off and back on her feet! The display is lit during the day as a tribute to all bush nurses. The 2006 Historical Society exhibition is back in the gallery for viewing on Tuesday, Friday and Saturdays, 10-4pm.

If you missed Migration Memories: Lightning Ridge, it will be re-presented in August 2007 at the National Museum of Australia with an exhibition developed as part of the same research project at Robinvale in Victoria.

Barbara Moritz
18 September 2006 12:45pm
Snippets 6 September 2006
Curator Mary Hutchison presented visitors to Migration Memories: Lightning Ridge with a commemorative postcard. She snapped a photo at McDonald’s 6-Mile in September 2005, and Ursula Frederick, project manager at the National Museum, designed the card.

The view from Nettleton’s First Shaft Lookout drops off to the west, out across the Travelling Stock Route (TSR), towards the Coocoran Opal Fields. It is green to the horizon and very flat. The sky is oh, so blue! Closer in and below, one sees a stockpile of white opal dirt ready to be brought up the ridge for processing.

In the foreground is a message on the horizontal pile of white opal dirt. Clearly printed in sticks and ironstones reads ‘ I Love U’. The Society has the same photo with a variation in words from a later date. There was no longer a message at the time of Migration Memories: Lightning Ridge so Mary and yours truly have renewed it.

Barbara Moritz

18 September 2006 12:44pm
Snippets 30 August 2006
Migration Memories: Lightning Ridge is in full swing at the Heritage Cottage Hospital Gallery. You are introduced to the theme by text panels on the verandah, and proceed through the three spaces of the exhibition that tell seven stories of settlement in the district, each with a representative object(s).

The remnant of the American Barnes’ catalogue grinding and polishing machine that was ordered from USA in 1896 by ABJ, opal buyer in White Cliffs, is a classic! German-born ‘Pappa’ was lured to the Ridge by the discovery of black opal in the early 1900s. His granddaughter, Jennifer Colless, used the machine under the instruction of her father.

Gabor came out to Australia by ship after WWII from Hungary. We see his letters from home still kept in a special biscuit tin. Gabe’s children and grandchildren have learned lots about him thanks to curator, Mary Hutchison, who documented his story.

Angledool Station’s branding iron is well used as one can see. Bits of Chinese porcelain and an Aboriginal grinding stone were found on the property that lies north of Lightning Ridge. Europeans took up the land for grazing in the earliest settlement of the district, 1840s.

Migration Memories: Lightning Ridge also tells the story of Lovelyn, who came here from the Philippines with her husband, Bruno. On view is her shoulder bag – even her air ticket! Words of encouragement taken into her new life hold great strength to this day: Look forward. Leave the past behind.

Dushan came to Australia from Yugoslavia seeking freedom. He attended the 50-year reunion of the Snowy Mountain scheme and his commemorative cap is displayed beside one worn by members of the Serbian King’s army.

Frans came to Lightning Ridge for a sea change from the Sydney suburbs. He handcrafted a mini-view that he and his late wife, Betty, enjoyed from their caravan verandah. The pair came to Australia from Sweden in the 1950s.

The ridges were the highways between rivers so June & Roy’s story is interwoven into Ridge settlement. Aboriginals used waterways as group boundaries as seen on a calico map that June prepared.

Migration Memories: Lightning Ridge runs through Sunday, September 3. If you miss it, the exhibition will be in Canberra at the National Museum in August 2007.

Barbara Moritz

18 September 2006 12:42pm
Snippets 23 August 2006
Migration Memories is being well visited and Mary is gleaning interesting comments in her attention to the two-week exhibition in the Hospital Gallery, 9 Morilla Street.

The August 18 preview at 4pm created lots of interest, and opening speeches at 5pm were conducted from the back verandah to a garden audience of around 80. A social hour followed and about 30 people adjourned to Dig In for a camp oven evening.

Also in attendance were Canberra visitors associated with Migration Memories Iona Walsh, exhibition designer, Martha Sear, curator, Kylie Message, Collections & Museum Studies at the CCR Centre, and Ursula Frederick, project manager.

Travis Lane and Billy Nagy, local Aboriginal dancers, entertained us by the bonfire before dinner. The latter is a grandson of one of the storytellers in Migration Memories. Families are learning about their own heritage through Mary’s research and compilation, which is the purpose of the exhibition of seven stories.

Visitors to the Ridge and locals alike are arriving to consider the exhibition that runs daily, 10-4, through 3 September. We were chosen as NSW’s cross cultural community and this high profile production reaffirms our community’s importance in the settlement of country Australia. Mary will also work with people in Robinvale, Victoria to tell their stories. The combined exhibition will be presented at the National Museum of Australia from August – November 2007 in Canberra.

Barbara Moritz, Secretary

27 August 2006 04:51pm
Snippets 16 August 2006
The Cottage Hospital Gallery has been emptied of Nurse Lucy, her memorabilia and the photo exhibitions. Migration Memories, a new exhibition of seven local stories curated by Dr Mary Hutchison working with Canberra’s Centre for Cross Cultural Research, ANU, and the National Museum of Australia, will present a picture of district migration.

Over the past 12 months, Mary has visited Lightning Ridge and interviewed residents whose stories fill a Time Line of Settlement from 1788 – 2006. Starting with the grazing leases, she follows the discovery of opal, resettlement after the wars, and people seeking freedom from the Iron Curtain countries until more lately as people come for an escape from Australia’s congested coastal places.

Migration Memories opens at 5pm on 18 August, Friday. Stepan Kerkyasharian, Chair of the Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural New South Wales, will say a few words after Welcome to Country by Auntie June Barker.

The exhibition runs daily through 3 September, 10am – 4pm. Just wander up onto the verandah of the Cottage Hospital Gallery and have a look through. You’ll meet Mary and maybe share your thoughts on the presentation. You may even find Heritage Cottage open for inspection on the same day or upon your return visit. There is a lot of information to take in. Don’t miss Migration Memories!

Barbara Moritz, Secretary
27 August 2006 04:49pm