Historical Section


Walgett Spectator reports the rumor: "...the ridge near Kookran Lake carrying good opal..." - 9 Mile. Continued push for a bore by local Member, A. Black. First Census held. Telegraph line laid to New Town. The butchery across from the pub (later part of Dawson's home) had probably been built originally by Jack Prentice, who drew "Wellwood" on the Walgett Road. Possibly Jack Donnelly took his father's Old Town butchery business to this location. Inaugural Race Meeting in September. Schoolmaster at 3 Mile Flat.
Government called for closer settlement and relocation into the New Town. No further commercial leases were granted at the field settlements. Urwin and McDonald built a school in New Town for the consolidation. Businesses began relocating. St.George's Anglican Church was built, probably by Tom Urwin. He built a house for his bride Min (Michael's Nursery today). Regan's Store specializing in cordial and sweeties was operating (next to Black Opal Motel).
The Cottage Hospital formation committee chose three sites. Mandy Khan, formerly an Old Town shopkeeper, opened a branch to his Cumborah shop in Morilla Street (Bluey's Motel site).
Bush Nurse Association was established and the first nurse arrived and lived at the Hotel. The Cottage Hospital had been built with volunteer labor as directed by Urwin and McDonald (relocated to behind Spicer's Hut in Morilla Street 1999). WWI drew miners into service. "Flame Queen" was mined on Bald Hill not far from Dunstan's Angledool diggings. Second Post Office built by Tom Urwin in Morilla Street (demolished 1992).
Urwin built a general store for Nygah, formerly a hawker, then shopkeeper at Cumborah. Alongside, he built the first police station (the Bruce house today) across from the police paddock. Tom Urwin and Snowy Brown mined "Empress of Australia" (dropped and broken), "Black Prince","Flamingo" and "Pride of Australia" at Phone Line. (In 1920, Ernie Sherman paid 2000 pounds for these stones - the highest price ever paid for four black opals!) Reeves General Store operated beside the Imperial Hotel, previously Dick Howe's bakery (his widow married Bert Beckett in 1926).
*1916 Generally, quiet during WWI on the opalfields. Cooper's Cottage (today) built by Ben Buren, a Swede. Fred Bodel's hut on 3 Mile Flat was built by German Bros.
Tom Urwin took over Nygah's general store as Urwin's Store, next to the police station. The family lived in the back. Urwin and McDonald built the Hall across from the Imperial (where the Black Opal Motel is today). Bert Becket, son of Joe, took over the Tysons Tank (sunk by the goverment in 1885), below the Six Mile field and on the stockroute. Donnellys had been there until they drew a block near Dirrinbandi (Grace Molloy, formerly Angledool and lately Walgett, is a daughter, Lorraine a grandaughter). George Becket fell in WWI and his youngest brother, Reg's, widow and daughter Lyn are known to us.
Dungaleer's Gooraway Hotel on the Walgett road ceased to operate. Jack Dominick took up Lorne Station. "Butterfly" diggings was the new rush, probably due to the origin of the stone bearing that name, and one given pride of place by buyer Ted Murphy, the best judge of opal at the time. Dick Huggard (Kitty Francis' brother) built a second billiardroom, where Boardman's Arcade is. Richards Hill at the Grawin was discovered. Elizabeth Brown alias Mrs Wilby Wilby was shot dead at the Grawin Creek Inn, delicensed for some years. No one was convicted..
Back to top of page
Last Update Pre 2006