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Snippets 16 January 2008
The Black Opal Ballet presentation donated by Dawn Swane, choreographer and acquaintance of the late Charlie Nettleton, founder of the Black Opal Industry is a permanent feature in the Society’s Hospital Gallery.

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, i.e. five photos of her in the production.

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

Barbara Moritz

26 February 2008 08:12pm
Snippets 9 January 2008
Bob Bishop was one of the first opal miners on the field in 1902. He mined with his father Ted known as the ‘Opal King’ in 1905’s Sims Hill rush. The Bishops were on the land near Come-by-Chance before 1903 when they sold-up and moved into Walgett. Mrs Bishop ran a boarding house.

Bachelor Bob left Lightning Ridge in the 1930s to join family. He returned in the early 1950s and lived at Nobby Field. In 1963, Bob was buried in the Ridge Cemetery. Hazel Gamble, his 92-year-old niece in Sydney, remembers the dusty little village of Lightning Ridge well but where is Bob’s grave? We even have the news item from the Walgett Spectator.

Shire records note neither Bishop’s death nor his plot location. Family members wish to mark Bob’s grave and his grandnephew, Paul Chapman of Koroit in Victoria, has organized a collection. A spot will be chosen, the Council notified and a marker placed as a tribute to Bob Bishop, a Ridge pioneer.

Cypress pine crosses bearing name/date are being placed on graves without markers. In due course, a board will name those buried in unknown plots as an aid to family researchers. The Lightning Ridge Cemetery was surveyed in 1907.

Barbara Moritz
25 February 2008 08:08pm
Snippets 2 January 2008
Department of Lands has approved a $2000 grant to install an air-conditioner in the Society’s office. This ensures a more comfortable climate for family research and archival storage.

The Royal Australian Historical Society with Heritage Office (NSW) funding has approved a grant to republish ‘Opaladies – Stories in the Cultural Mosaic at Lightning Ridge’. This booklet is the companion to ‘Opaladdies’, 2007, and is for sale for $10 in Heritage Cottage and at Opal Books, Etc. at Bluey Motel.

Thanks to the support of federal and state departments, the historical reserve in Morilla Street can be maintained and improved. The value of local history becomes a priority as we march into tourism, full-force, at Lightning Ridge.

Barbara Moritz

25 February 2008 08:07pm