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Snippets 5 April 2006
The oldest and possibly the only remnant of St George’s Anglican Church is a two peddle organ made of American oak by the Estey Organ Co in Brattleboro, Vermont in USA. John Allport remembers it being played in the church his father built in 1935. It could have been in the original 1912 church that was deemed unsafe by a windstorm in 1933.

According to the website, this light-weight Estey organ is a Missionary model and easy to relocate to the cemetery or wherever music would be played. W H Paling & Company Ltd of Sydney were sole importers of these musical instruments. The serial number will tell us what decade it came into the country.

Rhonda White, our local chemist, played the organ regularly for church services. At some point, it was put in the shed because it no longer produced decent sounds. Late last year, the church committee decided to give the little organ to Rhonda and her mother, Winn, both Society Life Members, with the thought that it could be repaired and/or displayed as a token to St George’s Anglican Church, 1912-1998.

Another Life Member in Sydney, Michael Swan, was a sales rep with W H Paling & Co Ltd during the 1950s. He is sourcing getting the diminutive organ repaired. Recently, two chaps from Picton appreciated particular items in the gallery and especially the Missionary organ. Cliff Bond repairs furniture for St Vincent De Paul’s and upon inspection, observed that the bellows seem to be in good condition. He suspects that the serial number is in the workings behind them.

You can see this handsome memento in the Cottage Hospital Gallery. Nurse Lucy would have enjoyed a musical instrument, and who knows, she may have played the organ at church whilst at the Ridge, 1919-1921.

Barbara Moritz, Secretary

2 June 2006 02:27pm
Snippets 29 March 2006
Ellen Allport was born in Lightning Ridge, the only daughter of Queenie and Roy. She remembers antics in Billy Goat Lane that backed on the house her father had built for them in Harlequin Street. Her mother kept goats, so her brothers, John and Bill, delivered milk around the village.

Roy rebuilt St George’s Anglican Church in 1935 after a windstorm blew the 1912 building in Morilla Street askew. In 1998, this building was relocated to Ernie Sherman Way and restored as St George’s Serbian Orthodox Church.

Ellen went away to school in Sydney during the early 1940s and never really lived at the Ridge again. She married…. Watson and they had two daughters and a son. When Roy Allport died, then Granny Molyneux soon after, Queenie came to live in Harris Park near Ellen and John. Ellen last visited the Ridge in 1994 when her Aunt Alma Molyneux was buried.

More than ten years had passed before she travelled this way again, this time with her son Rod and his wife Jane, both keen family history researchers. They enjoyed visiting the restored BNA, today’s Cottage Hospital Gallery, and seeing photos of family and friends. Ellen’s older brother and his wife, John and Gwen Allport, had given the Society copies of their collection. Now we have CDs of family history prepared by the Watsons. We will all benefit from the combined information.

Ellen was exhilarated by seeing her hometown showing signs of prosperity – freshly painted buildings, new footpaths, well-groomed gardens and al fresco cafes. It was suggested that a reunion of interested Ridgeites could be held annually at a convenient location in Sydney. As time marches on, it would be a chance to share memories without the distance/time of travel.

Barbara Moritz, Secretary

2 June 2006 02:26pm
Snippets 15 March 2006
Mick Bauer arrived at Lightning Ridge about 1920 with George Low and Harry Sack, Germans who had been interned during WWI as the story goes. When Mick died in 1971, his personal papers were passed on to Max Hold, a fellow European. In 1996, Hold’s beneficiary gave the Society these assorted photos and papers that are now protected in an album for future reference.

Recently Bauer’s grand nephew, Dieter Aumann, emailed from near Frankfurt that the family’s last contact with Uncle Mick was a postcard from the Grawin in 1931. He asked what we knew about him? A wonderful exchange has ensued.

We have emailed the portrait of Mick that appears in Stuart Lloyd’s book – he and George Low – as well as a photo of the headstone in the cemetery that was placed by Mick’s friends. We have posted a CD of the photos on file here and Dieter will name the people for our records.

Dieter’s mother is the daughter of Stephan, Mick’s brother, so the Bauer family tree has been sent to us. The Aumanns are planning a visit to Lightning Ridge. So the full meaning of building profiles of the oldtimers for future family researchers is revealed!

Barbara Moritz, Secretary
17 May 2006 06:13pm
Snippets 8 March 2006
The Society has received a treasure trove from The Lightning Ridge Book published by Stuart Lloyd in 1965 with the covers illustrated by local artist of the day, Bonnie Watt.

We have the draft manuscript returned to Lloyd for corrections by the South China Morning Post Ltd in Hong Kong as well as No.2 book. This pristine copy is endorsed by Lloyd to himself: 'The person who thought of the idea. Compiled, checked, had this book printed and distributed. May he have abundant satisfaction and pleasure from the venture.'

Original photos as appear in the book plus correspondence from old timers support historical details and are invaluable to the foundation of our history. We read a letter from Arthur Turner in Griffith, who was on the 3-Mile in 1907, aged 19. He tells of the naming of Lunatic Hill! He won the first bicycle race in 1909 and has a silver trophy presented by J W Samuels, opal buyer. Where is that trophy in 2006?

Letters from the Robert L Moore children, the family that grew up on Angledool Station managed by their father 1880s – 1908, are revealing. Harold Gallegos of Hebel, founder of the 9-Mile in 1906, sent two photos snapped in the settlement of Nettleton on the 3-Mile diggings. Is he the distinguished looking miner in front of the hut?

The biggest surprise was that Lloyd already had Charlie Nettleton’s Death Certificate, and now, we also have those original photos – the 1904 portrait that is actually Jack Gray, shearer at Walgett, in 1934 – and Charlie at his Western Fall camp.

If you don’t have a copy of Lloyd’s book, Opal Books, Etc in Morilla Street has a selection of editions at various prices. This is the only opal bookshop in the world!

Barbara Moritz, Secretary
17 May 2006 05:57pm
Snippets 1 March 2006
Anyone who collects Ridge history has a copy of Stuart Lloyd’s paperback, ‘The Lightning Ridge Book’, published in 1967, or a reprint thereof. It is one of the most colourful accounts of local opal mining. It was reprinted in 1968 and again, in 1979 by Robina Boardman then editor of the Lightning Flash newspaper.

About ten years ago, a concerted effort was made to locate Lloyd’s widow but without success, just in case there were notes and original photos tucked away. What a surprise to get an email last September from Joy Wylie, niece by marriage and executrix of the Will of Mrs Evan Fuller, Lloyd’s widow.

Joan Lloyd Fuller lived the last decades of her life in Wellington NSW. She was a nurse and a popular woman in the community. Widowed yet again, her papers had remained intact until the observant Joy was sorting things out and thought to contact the Ridge community. Continued next week...

Barbara Moritz, Secretary
17 May 2006 05:50pm