To the L.R. I. Site
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Thu 6 Nov 2014 23:47
To The I Site at Lightning Ridge
We piled in the beast and set off for the opal fields. The scenery went from mildly green to dry to arid.
The trip was 221 miles from bottom right to top left.
The first thing we saw at the turning to Lightning Ridge.
Black Opal Country sign, a space rocket ??? a closer inspection required.
The main road. A few minutes later in our nest for the next couple of days with kitchen. Quick wash and off out to explore.
Information Centres are our thing and we were pleased to see there is one with a fun advert.
We parked and found a lovely Memorial outside.
All important weather. Pleased to see the risk of frost is nil.........
Considering the heat it was amazing to see this picture of flood water in February 2012.
The information lady handed us a sheet of paper. There were four lists with details of things to see on walking and driving tours, The route were marked with car doors of different colours. The origin of the Car Door Explorer Tours is as follows: In 1999, the Historical Society was keen to direct visitors to the historical reserve on the 6-Mile opal field; to Nettleton’s First Shaft. Car parts – from bonnets and fenders to doors and boot lids – were discovered and lined up along the back fence of the Historical Society at 7 Morilla, known locally as Heritage Cottage Hospital Gallery since 2001.
Parts were undercoated then a series of arrows and messages applied by graphic artist, Kylie Moore who is associated with the Astronomers Monument. A working bee followed, to place the directives along what is now the Green Door Tour to Nettleton’s First Shaft. Much hilarity resulted in creating this innovative trail – four ‘girls’ marked the road back from the back of a ute.
In 2003, the Lightning Ridge Tourist Association – LRTA, adopted the idea and developed the Car Door Explorer Tours – red, blue, yellow and green. The Historical Society was instigative in sourcing and collecting the car doors – no shortage of spare ones on the opal fields. The local smash repairer sprayed the respective colours, using paint provided by the LRTA.
Again, a working bee placed the doors on their colour trails with local artist John Murray following along, dashing out the appropriate numbers or letters on each. Fun was had by all in putting together the colour-coded series of Car Door Explorer Tours that continue to be a popular and much-talked about way to see the opal fields with confidence. Rightee-oh then.
A heart warming story was hanging on the wall. Lucky Visitors Strike It Rich: Mary and John Cerrone from the South Coast of New South Wales are counting their blessings today after finding a whooping 14.92 carat gem, red on black opal in the specking dump at the visitors centre in Lightning Ridge. Along side the big stone was another red opal weighing in at 5.78 carats when polished. Together the stones are worth around $20,000. After a bit of fossicking in the afternoon Mary was hooked and decided to arrive early the next morning at the specking pile so as to take advantage of the bright early morning light – and it paid off. Having recovered from the excitement of their find Mary and John took their stone to a lady called Jo who carved the opal into its finished beautiful form. The couple plan to keep their opals as a reminder of their trip and they will eventually pass the opals to their grandchildren. What a lucky find.
The returning or come-back boomerang was used to help snare the wild ducks. A net – made from possum fur and human hair, was set across a lagoon or waterhole, when the ducks were on the water the men would whistle like hawks which would cause the ducks to fly up. The boomerangs would then be thrown over the ducks who in return would swoop down into the nets. Many ducks were caught this way.
The nulla nulla. When an emu or kangaroo was speared in the leg and brought down, the nulla nulla was used to finish them off.
The lil-lil was a throwing club used in tribal fights. It was also used to kill small animals such as bilby and sand goannas.
The battle axe was a hand to hand combat weapon used in tribal fights, very lethal. I best keep my thoughts to myself, it’s just the words battle axe, conjures up............ Steady.
Music sticks are clapped together providing the rhythm for the Corrobboree – the tribal dance. The word rhythm rules out my friend........Steady. Payback is a b - - - - . Ummmm. You wait, I’ll remember this.....
We picked up several camping / motorhome magazines and maps, as in New Zealand all free of charge. Plenty to read up on ready for when we sail to Australia on Beez.
Back out in the car park we saw this board and of course we had to pose. Then off on the Red Car Door Tour.
ALL IN ALL I-SITES NEVER DISAPPOINT
LOADS TO LOOK AT AND READ ABOUT