SLOVENIANS IN LIGHTNING RIDGE
Jože Vrtačnik was born in Trbovlje in 1929. He was a partisan during the war but he escaped to Italy in 1946. It was very dangerous to escape in those days because they were shooting if they caught you on the border. Joe lived in Trieste until in 1949 Australia offered to take the migrants from Europe. Jože started to work for the farmers near Bourke. He met a beautiful Aboriginal girl and was the first Slovenian to marry an Aboriginal person in 1950. They had four children during their marriage but then his wife began a relationship with Jože’s Slovenian friend
Martin Turk. Martin had three boys but they carried Vrtačnik’s name.
Rudi Vrtačnik Turk chose to live Slovenia and would be one of the few Aboriginal people living in Slovenia. Martin was a builder; he died during the seventies. There were four Slovenian miners during the fifties. One of them Slavko Jaušnik is still involved with Cobber Pedy opals and
Vladimir Strašek is a known identity in Lightning Ridge. He also married a very pretty Aboriginal girl and has a nice family. They became very prosperous but Vlado and his wife separated.
Jože Miklič and Franc Poklar moved to the Ridge from Canberra. Jože Miklič had an accident as he used machinery at home and Poklar returned to Canberra in the seventies.
Jože Vrtačnik brought Albin and Justine Porsek in 1966. Albin had back problems and stayed because of the hot artesian bore baths.
Rudi and Hilda Marin came during sixties and left during eighties. Rudi was a crocodile hunter before he returned to Slovenia in the sixties and married Hilda. Rudi died on Gold Coast but Hilda remarried and still lives there.
Gabriel and Angela Triler sometimes claimed that they are Austrian but they spoke Slovenian. Angela died in the nineties and Gabriel remarried and lives in Victoria.
Jože and Cilka Žagar arrived for Christmas 1968 with their two sons. Joze died on 18.2.2013 and Cilka still lives here.
Lojz Kučan came from Sydney after his divorce during the seventies; he died during nineties.
Štefan Hribar came from South Australian opal fields in the early nineties after he got divorced from his German wife. He has one son in Trieste one in Germany and one in Canberra.
Dominik Simončič arrived during the seventies. He worked in mines in Victoria and Western Australia. He was born in 1933 and still lives in LR.
Jože and Lojzka Koprivc came from Andamooka during seventies. Joze died and is buried in Lightning Ridge but Lojzka returned to Slovenia.
Rudi Kranjc arrived about ten years ago; he is married to a Bosnia lady Angela and they have two sons.
Cilka Žagar, April 30, 2013, Lightning Ridge
Cilka Žagar: Lightning Ridge Gems – Stories from Lightning Ridge – a Collection of stories from people in Lightning Ridge:
Stories of people originally from: Austria, Bosnia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Prussia, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Switzerland, Turkey
For enlargement click on the photo