HISTORY OF SETTLEMENT IN LIGHTNING RIDGE
“The cultural mosaic at Lightning Ridge in northern New South Wales is made up of over 50 nationalities – I think the Eskimo returned to the ice and snow! In 2013,our population is 5000, give or take a few, and 20% identify themselves as Aboriginal. Mind you, the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures say 2800 live here, so the sign at the entrance to the town: Population ? has great meaning.
People settle on the opal fields to be their OWN BOSS – they come with dreams of striking it rich, and bring their skills and energy. Many are European tradesmen who come with ideas and can initiate them. Those who stay are resilient against all odds. Out of necessity, we become masters of recycle and ‘making do’ in this small country community. And there’s a certain freedom to live as we please, as long as we keep a low profile.
It’s that life style, the landscape and the legends that lure people to Lightning Ridge. Most get bitten by the opal bug! Many make it their new home.”
…so says Historical Society Secretary, Barbara Moritz.
The history of the Lightning Ridge and the migration is described at the following links – Publication and web page MY OWN BOSS:
Photos and permission by the Historian Barbara Morits, 2013