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Snippets 12 May 2010
There's plenty of positive feedback for the 'Wind Lass, Wind' photo exhibition in the Hospital Gallery behind Heritage Cottage in Morilla Street. The lady opal miners have always been here, often just giving a hand behind the scenes, so it's good to see them in a prominent collection. The complex is open for inspection Wednesday through Friday, 10-4pm, or by appointment.

Also in the Hospital Gallery, the nurses' display continues to create interest in our visitors. Last week, three people reported knowledge of our Nurse Lucy, who became Sister Mary Audrey and was Matron of Mater Maternity Hospital, Brisbane. The stories almost bring her alive in the front window nursing display.

A retired Brisbane pathologist worked with Sister and will follow-up another elderly associate's comments on the subject, then share them with us. The dedication of career nurses, many of whom commenced as bush nurses in regional areas, reminds us of just how nursing as changed since the Bush Nurse Association was absorbed by NSW Health in 1975.

In 2011, we celebrate 100 years of the BNA in New South Wales. A booklet is in the making that will celebrate this important part of Lightning Ridge history – our first local bush nurse in 1914.

Barbara Moritz
25 May 2010 04:15pm
Snippets 5 May 2010
by Frank Holloway
one of the unlucky ones in 1932

Through the mists of old memories, I sometimes drift back
down the road to the Ridge and the old opal track.

Where stories are told that men pass around,
that the end of the rainbow lies under the ground
at the lightning ridge diggins’, where fortunes are found.

And if a man’s lucky and dame fortune’s kind,
a piece of the rainbow, he may even find.

Yes, a piece of the rainbow with colours so bright,
as they flash and they gleam in the pale candle light.

We hope and we dream as all miners do
of the beautiful gemstone with colours so true -
the green and the gold, the red and the blue.

Some will be winners on some lucky day.
Most will be losers and just drift away
down the track that they came on with hopes riding high;
on the road to the Ridge where dreams often die
when old lady luck just waves you goodbye!

Barbara Moritz
25 May 2010 04:14pm
Snippets 28 April 2010
Last week's Crocodile of Lightning Ridge fossil was reported in about 1915. In the Bulletin magazine, 22 April 1931, Ion Idriess, former miner on Lunatic Hill and prospector, reported:

I've seen samples of petrified wood from nearly every part of Australia, but nothing like those of Lightning Ridge opal field (NSW). There, the substance is found in almost every hole over a wide stretch of country – in sizes from tree trunks of great diameter to small branches and twigs – in one sloping stratum only, suggesting that at some remote period, a land-slide buried the forest in its path.

The preservation of the characteristics of the wood is remarkable – every ring of growth and perpendicular fibre being clearly visible; in many instances the bark, even in color (sic), looks as if it were still growing, while, here and there, indentations where it has been broken off (presumably in the crash) are plainly discernible. Whole branches, amongst which are dark thick masses of petrified sticks and grass (apparently birds' nests), are common. Petrified frogs have been found there too.

Barbara Moritz
26 April 2010 05:40pm
Snippets 21 April 2010
“Selas Lophus” appears on the side a stone cottage on 3-Mile flat at Lightning Ridge. It is named for a fossil, a piece of a jawbone with six ugly-looking, sharp teeth, all converted to good blue-black opal, that was introduced to museum authorities as described in Article XI – Reptilian Notes No.4 by R Etheridge, Jr, who was curator of the Australian Museum, Sydney.

According to Dr Fenner in his Bunyips and Billabongs, few reptiles of that time have been recorded. However, a small species of crocodile with similar forward teeth was still found to be living in Northern Australia’s inland waters.

This specimen's name Crocodilus (Botosaurus) Selas-lophensis has been derived directly from the locality of the long-departed owner of the jawbone. Selas is Greek for lightning and lophus for a ridge giving us the Crocodile of Lightning Ridge.

The Selas Lophus cottage will be on the Environmental Walk that is being designed as part of Stage 1 in the Australian Opal Centre project that will commence very soon. By the way, there are many new treasures - everything but opal - for sale in the retail cabinet at the showroom next to Tom's Lapidary, Monday, 9-1, Tuesday through Friday, 1-5pm. Bring your suspected fossils for identification on Saturdays.

Barbara Moritz
26 April 2010 05:36pm
Snippets 14 April 2010
Who recalls this incident that was clipped by from an unknown publication an old-timer in Sydney and recently handed over to the Society?

Headlines: Migrants 'shot horses' and under it:
Two English migrants on a hunting expedition shot two stock-mustering horses worth $550, a detective said yesterday.

It reads:
The two pleaded guilty in Darlinghurst Quarter Sessions of maliciously killing a horse, and of maliciously maiming a horse. Judge Prior remanded them until next Friday for sentence.
They are Albert David George, 20, fitter and welder, of Montrose Avenue, Fairfield, who migrated in 1965; and Thomas David Money, 20, bricklayer of the Villawood Migrant Hostel, who migrated last year.
Detective-Sergeant K Aldridge (Fairfield) said in evidence yesterday that George and Money, each with a rifle, went on a hunting expedition at Lightning Ridge on October 2 last year.
“They later told police they were just looking for things to shoot at,” Det-Sgt Aldridge said.
“They climbed through a fence into a paddock, where two horses were standing.”
Killed Instantly (in bold)
“They shot one through the heart, killing it instantly, and maimed another by shooting it in a hind leg.
“The property manager, Mr RA Evans, saw what happened and ran towards the youths, but they just got into their car and drove away. “He took a note of the car's number.”
Det-Sgt Aldridge said Mr Evans had used the horses for stock-mustering. He had valued the dead horse at $150, and the other, now lame, at $400. Det-Sgt Aldridge said the youths told police they first thought the horses were 'wild brumbies'. “But they admitted that they realised this was unlikely after finding they were in a paddock,” he said.
The Public Defender Mr HF Purnell (for George and Money) asked the Judge to take a lenient view as the youths were new to Australia and hardly knew what a horse looked like.
Judge Prior: “I have a very high regard for animals.”

Please pop into Heritage Cottage or slide a note under the door to tell us if you can set a date and/or the name of the property. Thanks!

Barbara Moritz, Secretary
26 April 2010 05:34pm