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Snippets 10 September 2008
The Annual General Meeting of the Historical Society was held on 7 September at 3pm. The back verandah of the BNA was a comfortable space on a spring afternoon.

A dozen members and two new members unanimously re-elected officers who were unopposed: Michael Taylor as President, Len Cram as Vice President and Barbara Moritz as Secretary/Treasurer. Paula Lloyd and Christina Johansson were re-elected to the Executive Committee plus new member Anne Marie Deane who replaces Rose Smith now resident in Walgett.

Our Patron Winn White was unable to attend but Rhonda arrived bearing her greetings. A General Meeting followed with Executive Committee’s announcements that included George Mulder’s acceptance as new male Patron of the Historical Society. Several grant applications are in the mill for 2009.

The hundred years celebration’s Time Capsule 2008 will be buried on Sunday, 11 October at 3pm in the backyard of Heritage Cottage. The deadline for submissions is the week of 22 September. Don’t miss out! Unlike the stainless steel barrel that went down in 1988 for 100 years, TC08 will be opened in 2058.

We lingered for more afternoon tea and Rhonda played the repaired 1930s organ from St George’s Anglican Church that she and Winn donated to the community in 2006. We are all talking about celebrating Seniors Week 2009 with a possible Mystery History Tour. This stirs the imagination and could even become a regular event.

Barbara Moritz
8 September 2008 01:02pm
Snippets 3 Sept 2008
The late Graham brothers, Sid and George, were popular characters in the town and are remembered by many locals and visitors. In June their NZ family contacted the historical society through the Internet inquiring about the long lost uncles.

Their nephew Graham Innes celebrated 90 years on 16 August 2008 with a birthday party organized by his granddaughter Becky Innes. The society sent over the 6-minute DVD of ABC’s Solitary Ones that was presented in 1966 featuring Sid and George. Photos and details of local Ridge knowledge enlightened family of just what happened to the bachelor brothers. Graham hadn’t known ‘the boys’ personally because he was born about the time they departed for Australia.

Becky has just reported that exactly a week after the big party, her grandfather went into the Land of Sighs as local Ridge journalist John Landers calls it in his 1921 Spectator articles of earlier life (and death) on the diggings. She will send current photos and copies of letters Sid and George wrote to their sister Ann.

According to family lore, Sid was a farm worker in NZ and George wrote for the Christchurch Star Sun before disappearing to Australia. No doubt there will be more surprising information of the early lives of these two very colourful characters, 40-year residents in Heritage Cottage, 9 Morilla Street, Lightning Ridge.

The joy of discovery at the historical society is endless.

Barbara Moritz
1 September 2008 12:38pm
Snippets 20 Aug 2008

Time Capsule 2008 will be planted under a garden mini-windmill recently donated to the Society. This takes place the second weekend in October in the backyard of Heritage Cottage in Morilla Street. So time is marching on. Please put pen to paper and be part of this celebration of 100 years since Lightning Ridge was gazetted.

A minimum of 50 words per submission is only a guide – let’s say, a page of information and a photo – plus $10 to the Historical Society gets you into Time Capsule 2008. This is an opportunity to say why you like living in Lightning Ridge and/or what your hopes for the future are for our town, a popular multi-cultural centre in regional NSW.

Joy and Bob Davies gave the Historical Society a few books and other items that included the mini-windmill he made. Bob was a volunteer at the Visitors Centre and retired due to poor health. They will join their daughter in Alice Springs and we wish them well.

So don’t forget Time Capsule 2008. The cut off date is the week of 22 September. You can pick up an invitation at Heritage Cottage Wed, Fri and Sat or by appointment.

Barbara Moritz
20 August 2008 02:58pm
Snippets 13 August 2008

Heritage Cottage on Morilla Street historical society’s reserve was built by Albert Spicer in 1932 who sold to Sid and George Graham in 1937. The New Zealand brothers spent the next decades mining at Lightning Ridge. We have recently had contact from their family for the first time.

The brothers were two of ten children born in a small east coast village between Christchurch and Dunedin on the south island. Of this large family, only two married and but one reproduced. So it is the Graham brothers’ nephew Donald Graham Innes’ granddaughter Becky from whom we have heard. She is planning his surprise 90th birthday and found on the Internet to contact the historical society.

The family really only knew that ‘the boys’ went to Australia and ended up in Lightning Ridge. The story we know is that in about 1920, they sailed for Tasmania where they discovered the osmiridium. They sold the rights to a mining company and came to New South Wales according to Graham Lees, long time Ridge resident.

Archie Kalokerinos says the Graham brothers were in Coober Pedy before they settled in the Ridge. They travelled with an Aboriginal couple on camels to the ‘heart’ of the world’s opal, probably Mintabie in retrospect. Sid and George wanted to accompany Archie to South Australia in the early 1960s to share this knowledge but did not.

The Graham brothers were famous for the verandah hospitality at their home in Morilla Street. Over the years many of their former guests have revisited Heritage Cottage to share these memories. Sid died in 1969 and George in 1976. Their NZ family now knows what became of them and we will glean more family history from their reunion to celebrate Graham Innes’ 90th year in Auckland on 16 August.

Barbara Moritz
20 August 2008 02:56pm
Snippets 30 July 2008
Opal Festival 2008 is over and positive comments were flowing as display holders began breaking up mid Sunday afternoon. Fuel prices and inclement weather didn’t seem to dampen the spirit of annual festivities.

Thanks for visiting the Historical Society display. Much interest was shown in Len Cram’s 2008 publications: Beautiful Yowah & Koroit, The Wonders of Fossicking & Exploring the Australian Opal Fields and No.2 in his souvenir series costing but $2.

Two potential Nettleton family connections of Charlie, founder of the Black Opal Industry, were registered for investigation. Also, a former Ridge miner brought along a pocket watch bearing the inscription ‘C Nettleton, Walgett’ to be photographed. It is only by chance that he was inspecting this item in a private collection and popped the back off to discover its original owner. It is our good luck that he knew the significance of C Nettleton.

Once again, it’s great to see that the local Historical Society is creating an awareness to reveal tangible evidence of early history on the opal fields. The Opal Festival is a meeting place for discussion and sharing of such information. Thanks for your support and please visit Heritage Cottage Hospital Gallery to see many treasures on Wed, Fri and Sat from 10-4 or by appointment.

Barbara Moritz
30 July 2008 02:09pm