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Snippets 27 March 2008
Local author Len Cram opened the eighth exhibition at Heritage Cottage Hospital Gallery. ‘Oxford’ Terry’s Tobacco Pipes are on display in the Cottage Hospital plus photos of men over the years smoking pipes.

Len is vice president of the Society and knew our late patron, ‘Oxford’ Terry, well. In the early 1980s the men established the Lightning Ridge Historical Society with the support of a band of citizens. On Good Friday morning, we shared a few memories of those formulative years over a cuppa after a glimpse of the 2008 exhibition.

Heritage Cottage will be open on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10-4pm, or by appointment. Be sure and call in and enjoy ‘a step back in time’. You will appreciate just how good we have it here at the Ridge when you see the early memorabilia that includes the bushnursing history of the opal fields.

Barbara Moritz

29 March 2008 10:21pm
Snippets 19 March 2008
‘Oxford’ Terry’s Tobacco Pipes opens at Heritage Cottage Hospital Gallery on Good Friday, 10.30am. This is our eighth exhibition in the relocated and restored 1915 BNA (Bush Nurse Association) Cottage.

You’ll also enjoy the permanent displays – photos of the Diggers Rest before it burned in 2006, Clare Cuming’s pen/inks of select camps, original water-colour paintings of Cooper’s Cottage and the second Post Office, also an oil painting of underground in 1924 plus nurse memorabilia from 60 years of bush nursing.

Join us for a chat and a cuppa on the back verandah Good Friday morning. Have a great Easter weekend in any case.

Barbara Moritz

8 March 2008 05:08pm
Snippets 12 March 2008
The Heritage Cottage Hospital Gallery will be open for inspection on Good Friday, 21 March, at 10.30am. The 2008 exhibition is entitled ‘Oxford’ Terry’s Tobacco Pipes. His widow, Jennifer, donated them as a tribute to the Society’s late Patron.

Accompanying the pipes is an exhibition of local photographs spanning 90 years – various men smoking pipes. Other permanent displays are on view, especially the Black Opal Ballet presentation donated by Dawn Swane, choreographer and acquaintance of the late Charlie Nettleton, founder of the Black Opal Industry, 1903.

Recently, we got a phone call from Judith Longhurst in Mossman. She danced under her maiden name, Royle, in this ballet that was performed twice in 1961 in Sydney. Someone told her that she was pictured in the Hospital Gallery at Lightning Ridge and she rang to discover the truth of the matter. Judith appears in five photos.

We put her in touch with her colleague Dawn Swane and sent information to plan a visit to the Ridge. So grow the links of history.

Barbara Moritz
8 March 2008 05:06pm
Snippets 5 March 2008
Further research is being done into the German opal buyer, Oskar Speck, by Madeleine Hetherton in Sydney. We put her in touch with the Australian Maritime Museum’s curator, Penny Cuthbert, who presented the Speck story in 2005 when she received the donation of his portable kayak and photo collection.

This is the man who came to Australia by water from Germany. He set out in 1932 and arrived in 1939 flying the swastika – he knew nothing of WWII. The Australian government threw Speck into an internment camp until after the War and it was there that he learned opal cutting. Upon release, he went into opal buying.

Yours truly has asked old timers if they had personal dealings with Speck. Greg Sherman had a clear recollection of the imposing brick house Oskar was building in Edgecliff – all cash money! Ron Mackay and Peter Dargin recall visiting the castle-like mansion to sell their 3-Mile opal in the early 1970s.

Michael Costello in Sydney remembers Speck well and has promised an interview in November. Madeleine will have gotten there first and maybe even provided the Society with further information about this amazing man, Oskar Speck, notorious in opal circles for his ‘hutzpa’.

Barbara Moritz

8 March 2008 05:03pm
Snippets 27 February 2008
Glenn Regan has contacted the Society concerning his grandfather ‘Stumpy’, whose family came in 1906 to the opal fields from Bourke. His parents opened Regan’s Store that offered general goods and specialties from 1910 into the 1920s. When the rush was on at the Grawin, Regans followed with their specialties of cordials, hops, ginger beer and sweets.

‘Stumpy’ suffered a road accident on his motorcycle and lay in Walgett Hospital a day or two before he died in 1932. His widow, Peg, and their daughter Marietta moved to Sydney, never to return to live in the Ridge. However, sons Ted (Glenn’s father) and Tim couldn’t get the opal fields out of their systems. Both served in WWII and the latter was shot at the Ridge in 1957 while lessee of the Imperial Hotel with his cousin, John Molyneux. As did his father, Tim lay in Walgett Hospital a few days before dying of complications.

Ted Regan went into opal dealing with his cousin, Bob Molyneux, after both returned from the War. In 2008, his son Glenn plans to write a novel presenting the opal stories he remembers hearing whilst growing up. He was last at the Ridge in the 1960s and wants to get a sense of place to set the novel, then, use the stories as ‘salad dressing’ for easier reading. We have sent Glenn what we can and recommended reference books but look forward to meeting him later in the year.

Barbara Moritz
8 March 2008 05:02pm