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Snippets 11 March 09
The Historical Society offers three FREE 2-hour bus tours through the old diggings. The afternoons of March 18, 19 and 20, 1-4pm, during Seniors Week give you an opportunity to learn of firsthand adventure and/or test your memory. Get out amongst the dumps near Lightning Ridge!

Guide Graeme Anderson will tell Truths and Tall Tales as we wander along to Lunatic Lookout and Nettleton's First Shaft Lookout via the 3- 4- and 6-Mile.

The Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care sponsors our Mystery 'Hystery' Tours so book now. Only 12 places on Wednesday and Thursday as Friday is already booked up for the Aged Care group.

Ring 0419 639 120. Afterwards, a cuppa on the BNA verandah gives time for discussion and having a look at the Society's 2008 exhibition. (The new one will be revealed Good Friday.)

Barbara Moritz
Secretary
9 March 2009 07:00pm
Snippets 4 March 2009
To support the importance of Ion Idriess' prolific writings in the annuls of Australian literature, one can say that of Idriess'
contemporaries – May Gibbs, 'Banjo' Patterson, Miles Franklin, CJ Dennis and Henry Lawson – the latter is his most likely rival, considering
appeal and productivity of the author.

Some refer to Idriess as 'Australia's Mark Twain', the American humorist and novelist who wrote two books about everyday life in a similar
speak-style. Another source says, “Mr Idriess tells this story (Lasseter's Last Ride) in a simple virile style which is, in its intense
economy, comparable to Ernest Hemingway at his best.”

Another Idriess follower noted that, currently, in his Sydney suburban library's catalog, 37 Idriess titles are held and borrowed frequently.
The broad range of topics appeal to children as well as adults because special children's editions of many titles were published.

In 2009, the Mitchell Library will select Idriess' books from its collections to display in the highly visible Library lobby show cases for the many visitors who pass by. This will mark the Idriess centennary in an appropriate way by drawing visitors' attention to the remarkable output and career of this great Australian writer who did so much to popularise this country and our history through his books.

And so we at Lightning Ridge can lay claim to a bit of the limelight during this special commemorative year to Ion L Idriess, a man's man. This man's energy of discovery was first portrayed through his
experiences on the diggings. Oh that we could reclaim just a bit of that energy in 2009 when opal times have slowed in the ever faster world of
tourism.

Barbara Moritz
Secretary
9 March 2009 06:57pm
Snippets 25 Feb 2009
Idriess as Boswell of the Bush? Yes, he earned the title by 1932 when he published Flynn of the Inland. But Jack was just a normal man as reflected by his writing style. His words sprang straight from the heart and his descriptive writing could not be separated from the narrative. Also known as 'Cyclone Jack' for his unhurried, easy-going ways, his books had wide appeal and, in 1950, he won the distinction of selling more than one million books, almost exclusively in Australia and NZ, through his publishers Angus & Robertson.

In September 1962, an interview about his early life was printed in the Southern Pacific Post, Port Moresby PNG, and in it Idriess said, '....a bit of money saved up, I carried me swag to Lightning Ridge opal gouging. .....when the money was used up, I carried me swag out again, not a penny richer. I went shearing, and when I had me cheque, I went straight back.'

And he continued, 'The second time, I found opal within the first ten minutes, 3 stones worth ?15. From there, I ran into a little patch of stones worth a few ?100, a fortune in those days.' (Apparently in three months, Idriess made ?3000 then spent it in the same amount of time in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne!)

Of course, today's mining practices cannot be equated to the simplicity of 100 years ago not to mention the manner of spending any profits.

Barbara Moritz
Secretary
9 March 2009 06:55pm
Snippets – 18 February 2009
The Historical Society's focus in 2009 is to support the celebration of the life of Ion L Idriess (pronounced Eedriess), adventurer and storyteller, who began his writing career on the diggings at Lightning Ridge. He took out a Miner's Right on October 30, 1909 as registered in the Angledool Courthouse Register, the location of district Government matters.

Australian-born Jack (he preferred the anglicised Ion), left school at 14 to begin his wander through life that concentrated mostly on his homeland. His rattling good yarns are still widely read – he wrote 56 books in 50 years.

Lightning Ridge was published by Angus & Robertson in 1940. Idriess was encouraged in 1936 by fellow opal miner and Walgett Spectator correspondent, John Landers, to write of his days at Lunatic Hill on the 3-Mile. 15 editions followed with a commemorative edition proposed in 2009 to celebrate 100 years since Idriess began submitting news items to the Sydney papers under the pen name of Gouger.

His items weren't always published but often acknowledged in the Answers to Correspondents column. “Stick to your pick and shovel!” advised the Bulletin. But Jack kept sending 'pars' and finally got meager payment. When asked how he first started writing, he reported, “It was a drunken solicitor who led me to scribbling.”

We read in Lightning Ridge about this mate on the diggings and only recently has more of a story come to light. Jim Bradly of Toronto published Gouger of the Bulletin in late 2008 by collecting news items in chronological order from the now defunct Bulletin. In his research as a passionate Idriess collector, Jim has uncovered the details. His book and all Idriess books are available at Opal Books, Etc in Bluey Motel, Morilla Street.

This year, the Idriess theme will dominate Society activities. At that time, Jack's colourful snippets in the Bulletin and city papers supported the beautiful black opal, a very different opal to the world. He began his writing career simply – by describing life at Lightning Ridge to city folk during the heyday of the 3-Mile – and, within twenty years, became known as Boswell of the Bush.

The Society would like to thank Khan's IGA for the $500 donation towards 2009 events commemorating Ion L Idriess, author and opal miner on Lunatic Hill.

Barbara Moritz
Secretary


15 February 2009 06:57pm
Snippets 11 February 2009
After 1930, fewer name stones were recorded. With luck, the odd gem listed below will bring to mind the indelible image and exhilaration of a brilliant opal and story of discovery.

Aurora Australia 180 ct
Big Ben 21 lb
Bird of Paradise 21 ct *Devonshire Opal 100 ct
Fireball 22 ct
Forest Fire No.2
Galloping 60
Gem of the West
Gem Orchid
Grawin Rainbow 505 ct
Green Goddess
Moonlight at Sea
Orient Queen 170 ct
Otto's Stone 15 ct
Pheasant Stone
Phoenix
Pride of Glengarry
Queen of Alexandra 75 ct
Rainbow Stone 28 ct
Rajah
Red Baron
Rising Sun 14 ct
Silent Jim's 600
Southern Princess
Star of Australia
Sydney Queen 43 ct
Temple of Light *also known as Queen of Oz

Of course, these are but a few of many named stones mined on the Lightning Ridge and Grawin, Glengarry, Sheepyard fields that are rarely discussed. How many worthy stones go unmentioned in these uncertain times?

Barbara Moritz
Secretary
15 February 2009 06:55pm