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Snippets 13 September 2012
Opale School at Wallangulla, the original settlement, opened in 1907 with 21 pupils. As the 3-Mile rush of 1908 gained momentum, Nettleton became established just three miles along the ridge on the Flat. By 1910, most families had relocated from 'Old Town' to the booming 3-Mile.

The provisional school at Nettleton operated officially from 1911-1913. However, in 1910, 16 families provided 38 pupils – 25% were Bruces and their cousins – for instruction. The first teacher lasted but three weeks. Tommy Gibson taught until the Nettleton School pupils transferred into the 'New Town'. The government had cancelled commercial leases and called for consolidation into the surveyed area – officially known as Wallangulla but called Lightning Ridge.

We have on tape – as told in 1988 by Jean Parker, a former pupil – the details of Teacher Gibson's curriculum and teaching techniques in the canvas school at Nettleton. She mentions the class photo, one printed in the March 1912 Town & Country Journal along with a photo of the new little school house at Lightning Ridge.

Parker's given us important local information of the day – she was there when Nettleton was named and wonders what became of it. Her family moved to Walgett when the school closed and her father wasn't having any luck with opal. She laments never having returned to Lightning Ridge.

Even though the Imperial Hotel opened in the 'New Town' in late 1909, the miners preferred to live near their mines. Then, in 1911, the first post office went up in Morilla Street; also a wooden school house was completed by September. Leasehold blocks were available. Street names reflected the terminology of geology. By WWI, relocation was mostly complete and the wooden school house was buzzing with pupils. (continued in 20 September 2012)













6 October 2012 02:35pm
Snippets 6 September 2012
1912 also marks 100 years since St George's Church of England was built in Morilla Street, Lightning Ridge. It blew to an unsafe angle in 1933 and was pulled down. An identical building went up in 1935.

In 1998, the name was changed to Community Church and the building relocated, leaving space for a new cream-brick structure. And because the Serbian Orthodox people follow the persuasion of St George, they accepted the little wooden church on their block in Sherman's Way, near the artesian baths, and kept the name alive.

In 2005, the Estey organ from the Church was donated to the historical society by Winn White, our Patron, also senior member of the church. We wrongly presumed it must be from the 1930.

The Internet tells us that the organ was imported into Australia from Vermont USA. It is oak and the Missionary Model – can be tucked under one's arm and carted easily to the cemetery or wherever. We couldn't find the serial number until Cliff Bond, an organ specialist in Picton, repaired it. Eureka, 1912! So ours is the original organ from St George's Church of England 1912 in Lightning Ridge.

The organ is on view in the Cottage Hospital Gallery with the Hymnal Board from St George's. From time to time, Rhonda White, our late Patron Winn's daughter, plays it to celebrate the life of someone, whose ashes are being scattered in our aloe vera garden. A plaque is placed on the verandah in their memory.

Four more Anglican churches were built in Brewarrina Diocese and consecrated in 1912 – St Peter in the Pines at Cumborah, All Saints at Angledool, St Mary the Virgin at Marra Creek west of Carinda and St John the Evangelist at Carinda. The Bush Brothers reached out to perform services around the region. Brother E C Kempe, 1910-1919, took significant photographs, a collection held in the National Library, Canberra.

One English Brother, 1957-59, returned to The Lizard, Cornwall, and named his property 'Lightning Ridge'. He remembers with fondness his overnights at Queenie Allport's house in Harlequin Street, when he came to give the sermon.

Barbara Moritz
Secretary
7 September 2012 08:16pm
Snippets 30 August 2012
Plans are in place to celebrate 100 years since the little wooden school house was officially opened in 1912. September 21-23, 2012 will be a busy time. NSW Governor Marie Basheer flies into the Ridge around midday on Friday to unveil a plaque and announce the memory pavers bearing names of those associated – past and present pupils, principals, families and organizations.

A sausage sizzle hosted by the Central School's hospitality class will fuel the hours of catching-up with classmates and old friends during inspection of the repainted school house. No doubt people will regroup again and again into the evening at various locations in the Ridge.

Saturday's street parade will lead to the Spider Brown Oval and an inspection of participating vintage cars. The Church of England (now called the Community Church) will present its 100 years exhibition on site from 10 to 4. The Historical Society's exhibition '100 years in the little wooden school house 1912-1950s' is a complement, just a bit further along in Morilla Street at Heritage Cottage Hospital Gallery. Events will create interest as the build-up to dinner and old-time dancing at the Bowling Club gains momentum.

On Saturday night, the 1912 theme will be carried out in dιcor at the Pub in the Club and heritage dress is encouraged. Old-time dancing will follow a sumptuous buffet. The spirit of the weekend will run high. On Sunday morning, some will continue their conversations in preferred locations, some will go to the Sunday Markets at the Lions Park, and others will attend church. Generally, a Back to School weekend will be much enjoyed as people reflect now and on days gone by.

Barbara Moritz
Secretary
7 September 2012 08:15pm
Snippets 23 August 2012
The provisional school at Nettleton operated officially from 1911-1913. However, 38 pupils – 16 families with 25% from one family – were under instruction in 1910. Tommy Gibson was the long-serving teacher after the initial man lasted three weeks!

Opale School at Wallangulla, the original settlement, had opened in 1907 with 21 pupils. As the 3-Mile rush of 1908 gained momentum, Nettleton became established just three miles along the ridge. By 1910, most families had relocated from 'Old Town' to the booming 3-Mile. Even though the Imperial Hotel had opened in the 'New Town', the miners preferred to live near their mines on the 3-Mile.

Then the first post office was built in the New Town and, about the same time, a new wooden school house that was ready for occupancy by September 1911. The government cancelled the commercial leases on the peripheral and called for consolidation into the surveyed area, officially known as Wallangulla but called Lightning Ridge. Leasehold blocks were available. Street names reflected the terminology of geology. By WWI, relocation was nearly complete.

The Nettleton School Class transferred into the village. One pupil for the duration told us, on tape in 1988, the details of Teacher Gibson's curriculum and teaching techniques. She describes her father's mine and how he built their house of canvas wrapped around poles; of water delivery and buying her father a money purse at Durrington's Habberdashery. She says she was there when Nettleton was named and wonders what became of it. Her family moved to Walgett when the school closed and her father wasn't having any luck. She never returned to Lightning Ridge.

Barbara Moritz
Secretary
7 September 2012 08:13pm
Snippets 16 August 2012
The Track is going-in almost across from the Black Opal Shed at Lunatic Hill on the 3-Mile diggings. This is a walking way down the ridge into the quiet, historical precinct of Nettleton, the second settlement, 1908-1913, and back up the road to Lunatic Lookout. With the advent of WWI, the opal rush slowed and families relocated into the surveyed and gazetted 'New Town' (2012 location).

One walks the track over rehabilitated land – the Lunatic Hill Open Cut has changed shapes over 40 years – and across the diggings then drops into the dry creek bed. Flora along the Track is labelled with designated rest areas to stop and reflect.

Birds are thick in the regenerated and native scrub as one wanders along, then follows the wash – that carries the water off the ridge – up to link into a right-hand turn across more diggings. Mining machinery are sentinels leading through the hand-shafts that are marked safely – an Opera-House-looking cage is one design; Rio-mesh on the ground with star pickets at each corner, strung with four taut strands of barbed wire, mark others.

The Track intersects a dusty, two-track road just below a double-decker bus, an opal miner's camp. Following the road along, through the field of scrub on the right and piles of opal dirt on the left, one enters rehabilitated ground and drops into a glade, locally named The Dingly Dell, to re-cross the dry creek bed.

One enters 3-Mile Flat, the site of a settlement in 1908 – by 1910, it is reported that 1000 people lived on the opal fields, a population larger than Walgett. The only remnant of 100 years ago is the probable site of Watty Vause's Store and the Agency Post Office at Nettleton NSW. We have the brass postal seal fossicked in the 1990s from the adjacent creek bed.

Barbara Moritz
Secretary
7 September 2012 08:12pm