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Snippets 2 November 2011
Part 8 – Street Names of L/Ridge

Amongst the following colloquially-known roads, there is one gazetted, Crystal Road to the 18-hole golf club located before the cemetery.

Crystal opal one can see through when it's held up to the light. However, once on an opaque surface (the skin or a black backing as a doublet), a crystal's colours are enriched.

Billy Goat Lane runs between John Murray's Art Gallery and the Black Opal Motel in Opal Street and is so-called from the days when goats roamed the tracks through the village and were kept for milk, meat and skins. The Allport's goat diary backed onto the lane behind the Harlequin Street house owned by Noel Kennedy in 2011.

Petticoat Lane is behind the vacant Diggers Rest site, Opal and Morilla Streets, and so-named for obvious reasons. The original Imperial Hotel was built on the site in 1909 and burned in 1927; rebuilt in 1928, then renamed in 1965, and burned in 2006.

Cemetery Road extends from Gem Street past the cemetery that was surveyed in 1907 at the same time as the New Town plan. The Anglicans were buried in the front half and the Roman Catholics in the back. The Jewish and Non-sectarian sections to the northwest have yet to be used.

Spectrum Road is the first right turn off Cemetery Road. Spectrum Opal Mine was an underground tourist attraction for nearly 30 years.

Bald Hill Road is the second right turn up the ridge to the Walk-in Mine attraction. Bald Hill was the only ridge without the tree lines used by early opal miners as indicators of cracks and crevices (tree roots sought ground water) that could lead to potential opal-bearing levels.

Potch Point Road turns right at the end of the bitumen past the cemetery, up the same ridge to the rubbish tip that is back-filling a 1980s open cut – an area known for an abundance of potch.

Tanks Road extends north from the end of Onyx Street and passes the effluent tanks, artesian water bowser for water carters, previous rubbish tip site (private opal processing site), grid-power park, a Miners Tanks access road, town bore and to the 9-Mile. Since early 2011, flood water has cut this service road beyond the previous tip site.

Barbara Moritz
Secretary
12 December 2011 06:05pm
Snippets 26 October 2011
Part 7 – Street Names at L/Ridge

Bill O'Brien Way comes into town from the Castlereagh Highway. Fred Reece Way extends from Opal Street out to the Lorne Station Road and/or to Aerodrome Road. Crystal Street to the Golf Course turns off Gem Street's northern extension before the cemetery. Even Billy Goat and Petticoat Lanes have significance in the Ridge although unmarked for decades.

Castlereagh represents the upside-down flowing river of that name in the district.

Bill O'Brien was a grazier on the property Woolloroo when he was elected to Walgett Shire Council in the early 1960s, the first counsellor from the Ridge. He pushed for a better life for the miners – electricity and he gave the land for the community Bore Baths.

Fred Reece's mother was an Aboriginal on Bangate Station, where he was born in 1890. He was a jack-of-all-trades and lived around the Ridge all of his 97 years. His son Eric found the opal Fireball in the 1957.

Lorne Station was a portion of Dunumbral Run on Bundinbarrina, the huge horizontal-running property, when the Dominick brothers took it up after WWI. Albert sold-out to Jack in 1927, who sold to Bill Powell in 1934; the Bill Waterfords came onto Lorne in 1947.

Land was withdrawn for mining in 1972 and the Miners Assn built two puddling tanks. 2400 hectares of Lorne that incorporated the 3-Mile opal fields was taken over as permissive occupancy by Walgett Shire Council in 1985. A Reserve Trust is being established in 2011 with Trustees representative of the stakeholders in the future of Lightning Ridge.

Aerodrome at Lightning Ridge was surveyed in 1963 when citizens helped pilots land by shining headlights by night and shooing kangaroos off by day. Bitumen and lighting were installed in 1993. A regular passenger flight service into the Ridge was discontinued sometime in 2009. Aviation fuel is no longer available.

Barbara Moritz
Secretary

12 December 2011 06:03pm
Snippets 19 October 2011
Part 6 – Street Names at L/Ridge

The newest neighbourhood in Lightning Ridge boasts street names that continue to have meaning – famous opals, miners, and historical, geological and mining references.

Butterfly Avenue links to Fantasia Street (Lappekalle Street) that turns into Halley's Comet Street to the 3-Mile Road and/or across into Nobby Road that incorporates Windlass Avenue and Shincracker Street in the Industrial area then rejoins 3-Mile Road closer to Bill O'Brien Way.

Fantasia weighs 2 carats and was found in the late 1960s by Bobby Ward at the 9-Mile. Greg Sherman paid £100 for it.

Lappekalle – Karl (or Kalle in Swedish) was born in Lappland. In the early 1980s during the Coocoran boom time, he and Swedes found a big stone they named 'Lappekalle' (Karl from Lappland). He took his share of money and returned home via Thailand. When no one heard from him for weeks, they feared for his life. However, he eventually re-surfaced, safe-and-sound back home with his 'nest egg'.

Halley's Comet was found in 1986 by the Lunatic Hill Syndicate in the 3-Mile open cut bearing that name. The famous comet is viewed in the skies every 76 years; also famous is this rubbed 1,982-carat nobby showing blue/green. It's recorded in the 1991 Guiness Book of Records as the largest, recorded black opal nobby – as large as a man's fist – but how many larger have not been recorded?

3-Mile Road goes to the opal field precinct of the same name, so-named as measured on the old track starting at Sims Hill, site of the first opal rush in 1906. It travels through to the 4-Mile and joins the Castlereagh Highway.

Nobby is a nodular formation of opal that can be as small as a pea or larger than Halley's Comet.

Shincracker is a hard-pressed clay above the sandstone level so-named because it chards like pottery and would've “cracked a few miners' shins” with the swing of a pick!

Windlass is a frame that sits over a mine shaft. Wire/rope that pulls buckets of dirt from the mine, winds-up on the barrel across the frame's cross-bar – one man winding, the other below loading buckets.

Barbara Moritz
Secretary

12 December 2011 05:59pm
Snippets 19 October 2011
Part 6 – Street Names at L/Ridge

Another neighbourhood in Lightning Ridge boasts street names that have meaning – famous opals, miners, and historical, geological and mining references.

Pinfire is an alcove off Opal Street nearly across from Rainbow Street that connects Opal Street with Nettleton Drive, an continuation of Agate Street to Butterfly Avenue (Fireball Street). Red Robin Street is the short cross-street between Nettleton Drive and Butterfly Avenue.

Pinfire is a common, overall opal pattern that resembles twinkling stars and can be all colours.
Rainbow weighs 28 carats and was found by George Low in 1933 at the Deep 4-Mile.

Red Robin is a beautiful opal (about 25 carats) found by Neville Bell in 1970 at Shearer's 6-Mile. He got $10,000 per carat from Bill Brewer.

Nettleton - Charlie Waterhouse Nettleton was the first professional prospector on the field and, in 1902-1903, sank a shaft for the syndicate of local businessmen at McDonald's 6-Mile. It was a 'duffer' but he saw the potential of the unusual, nodular black opal. Later, he walked to White Cliffs taking a parcel to show opal buyer Ted Murphy. As Tully Wollaston's representative (the man who developed the world's market for opal in 1900), Murphy bought it and put in a request for more.

Butterfly weighs 30 carats and is patterned like the British butterfly, Red Admiral, so was also known by that name. It was found near the site of Pride of Australia, Flamingo, Black Prince and Empress on Telephone Line. The late Bob Molyneux says his uncle-by-marriage, Jack Boules, found it in 1920 – he saw it! (others say 1914 but named in 1920 and some say it was found by Jim Murray and 'Canada' Bill Etheridge in 1922 on Butterfly field).

Fireball is a light opal found in 1957 by Eric Reece and Jack Simpson on the 3-Mile. Mick Bauer cut the stone and Larry Reynolds paid £200 for it.

Barbara Moritz
Secretary
12 December 2011 05:57pm
Snippets 12 October 2011
Part 5- Street Names at L/Ridge

Newer neighbourhoods in Lightning Ridge boast street names that have meaning – famous opals, miners, and historical, geological and mining references.

Sunflash Street, Cardinal Road and Flamingo (Red Admiral Place) all run into Black Prince Drive that swings up from Pandora Street and around to join Opal Street.

Sunflash is a style of opal that only flashes colour from deep within by moving it, when sun is shining over the shoulder and directly onto the stone.

Cardinal is a 9-carat black opal found by John Molyneux and Keith Morris on Telephone Line in the early 1970s. Les Taylor bought it for an undisclosed amount.

Flamingo weighs 30 carats and was found on Telephone Line by Urwin and Brown in 1915. Other stones in the patch were Empress, Black Prince and Pride of Australia. Ernie Sherman bought it and the other gems for £500 each in 1919.

Red Admiral weighs 30 carats and is patterned like the British butterfly with the same name – also known as the Butterfly Stone – found near the site of Pride of Australia, Flamingo, Black Prince and Empress on Telephone Line. The late Bob Molyneux says his uncle-by-marriage, Jack Boules, found it in 1920 – he saw it! (others say 1914 but named in 1920 and some say it was found by Jim Murray and 'Canada' Bill Etheridge in 1922 on Butterfly field).

Black Prince or Harlequin Prince is a famous flag-patterned stone that weighs 130 carats. It was found in 1915 on Telephone Line (1914, say others) by mates Tom Urwin & Snowy Brown. Ernie Sherman bought it in 1919 for £500 along with other stones from the patch – Flamingo, Empress and Pride of Australia.

Barbara Moritz
Secretary
12 December 2011 05:49pm