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Snippets 31 May 2006

A great effort is being made to match up plots with grave markers at the Lightning Ridge Cemetery. Surveyor A W Mullen surveyed the ground in 1907 at the same time as the village. Both were gazetted in 1908.

In the late 1960s, there was a scramble to make a cemetery mud map from memory as shire records were skimpy. Then Helen Allerton, Lola Cormie and Marlene Davidson compiled Outback Burials in two volumes. Lately, Helen Hawke of the Funeral Advisory Committee with the help of the Historical Society is sorting out inaccuracies that persist.

With the aid of the Shire’s GPS photo, disturbed ground is indicated to anticipate unmarked graves. A plaque will commemorate these people for future family historians. A wall for placing ashes is a recent addition to keep up with the times. We may also need to extend the existing boundaries and utilize more of the gazetted ground to accommodate the town’s needs.

Barbara Moritz, Secretary
23 June 2006 02:35pm
Snippets 24 May 2006

The active mining today at Lightning Ridge is on the Grawin, Glengarry, Sheepyard fields, about an hour’s drive from town. It’s an old area that is being extended with great difficulty – environmental issues are primary in gaining access to Crown Land.

There’s plenty of opal, probably right across to White Cliffs, Andamooka and Coober Pedy which is 1000 miles as the crow flies. Our lives just aren’t long enough to gain access to the land even if we just could afford to mine it!

Someone was asking the origin of the word Grawin. In Katie Langloh Parker’s Australian Legendary Tales, a reference is made to the Googoorewon, the place of trees, later shortened to the Grawin. Elizabeth Durack has illustrated this collection of tales that were selected and edited by H Drake-Brockman, and published by Angus and Robertson in the 1950s. The Parkers owned Bangate Station before 1900.

Barbara Moritz, Secretary
23 June 2006 02:34pm
Snippets 17 May 2006

The Black Queen tourist attraction on Sims Hill is creating lots of interest with its new focus, an oil lamp display. The bottle feature walls are a perfect backdrop for the soft light as the collection of lamps is revealed.

The cosiness of the stone cottages surprises visitors as they make their way to the gallery of lights. The carefully built fireplaces, one using a round saw blade to deflect the heat, draw beautifully, and are a welcoming focal point to the rooms.

Joan Andrews, a seamstress, used sequins to design the motifs for the feature walls, using more than 12,000 bottles. Certainly, no one will ever go to so much trouble again and we are pleased that the new owners, Gale & Roger Collins, are keen to preserve the Black Queen and her stories.

So, was the Black Queen Joan herself or, as she said, the famous opal awaiting the successful finder in the mine adjacent? Only time will tell! Perhaps Roger will have the energy to mine once he has increased his strength building a feature wall with the stacks of excess bottles at the bottom of the claim. Go Roger!

Barbara Moritz, Secretary

23 June 2006 02:30pm
Snippets 22 March 2006
The much-loved Cooper’s Cottage in Morilla Street has had a ‘verandah-lift’! Volunteers, Anna and Aldo Ziglioli, and Society President, Michael Taylor, have put in a lot of energy to tidy up the fašade of this 1916 cottage built by Ben Buren, a Swedish opal miner.

When the Grawin Rush took off in the last part of the 1920s, Buren relocated his home to where the action was – that’s the beauty of corrugation, you can take it with you! The humble structure was resurrected back on the corner in the 1930s, and the roof was later pitched to its present angle.

The Cooper family moved in about 1953. Bert moved down to Corrimal in 1993 and various tenants have occupied the space until recently. The cottage is one of the best examples of our early ‘Tin Can Culture’ and, with luck, will grace the streetscape in our centenary year, 2008. After all this is surely our first transportable home!

The Society would like to thank the owners for giving us permission to present Cooper’s Cottage as living history to their father and 1960s resident, Clive Batten.

Barbara Moritz, Secretary
2 June 2006 09:22pm
Snippets 10 May 2006
Ping came to the Ridge with Arthur Wells in about 1963. The mates mined at the Deep Belahs near Bob Hewlett’s camp. Late last year, Ping’s nephew, Ray and Kay Houghton from Melbourne, visited the Ridge to locate anyone who had known his estranged uncle. They visited the cemetery and admired the PING cross.

A Snippets in Sept 2005 asked for interested persons to make themselves known. Barry Fleming came forth to say that he had welded up the simple cross in 1980. Then Bob Hewlett made contact, and gradually a list was compiled for Kay & Ray’s visit this month. His cousin, Helen with Brian, met them here to gain a sense of the man, Ping.

Ping was a stonemason and there are several examples of his work. Alex Eddy’s home at Rewards has beautifully skutched walls – Alex even found the special stone tool Ping used for Ray to photograph. There’s an unusual round room in the 3-Mile Mining Supplies workshop, originated by Max Pedlar, the Piano Tuner. Not far away, a partial stonewall containing a beautiful arch makes one question if it is going up or falling down. Kenny Fisher believes it was meant for the publican of the day.

Sue Pedlar used to ring Ray’s mother in Victoria regarding Ping’s health, etc. Brett Hyland gave us Sue’s current contact details just in case she has any photographs. Liz Eddy gave Ray a fun snap of Ping peering over one of his stonewalls – just from the nose up! The fence that Ping made across the front of Peter Rosso’s in Gem Street is the only casualty and the workshop’s feature stonewall is painted.

Athol Jenkins commiserated that Pat Allen would’ve had plenty to say had he not been buried in October. Graeme Anderson confirmed what others had said, that ‘Ping was an all around nice man’. And that is not the end of the story. Kay and Ray are quite taken with the Ridge and are already planning to visit again in 2007. Ray will send us a photo of Ping and two friends in WWII attire – one could be Arthur Wells.

Barbara Moritz, Secretary
2 June 2006 02:33pm