The Lightning town.
The name Lightning Ridge is said to have originated when in the 1870s some passers by found the bodies of a farmer, his dog and 200 sheep which had been struck by lightning. Situated in new south wales of Australia, the Ridge is the Black Opal capital of the world. The Black Opal is also known as the Queens gem of gems, still a favorite of the english royal family. The population of this small mining town is still unknown, but it has more than 40 different nationalities including the indigenous Australians living peacefully together with thousands of kangaroos, emus and many different Australian wildlife. It's a favourite for many Opal enthusiast around the world, that come here all year long, hoping to find bargain Blacks Opals directly from miners.
Black Opal mining.
Europeans did not discover the potential for opal mining in Lightning Ridge until the late 1800s. In 1905 the first shafts were dug, with the unique Black Opal soon attracting attention of fossickers in established mining towns such as White Cliffs. Charlie Nettleton, an early pioneer in the area, walked 700km from White Cliffs to see the Black Opal, walking back to White Cliffs the following year to develop a market and selling black opals to Ted Murphy, who later became the first resident opal buyer in Lightning Ridge. Nettleton, now regarded as the founder of the black opal industry, is commemorated with a life-size bronze statue, the "Spirit of Lightning Ridge"; it is located in the town at 7 Morilla Street. Lightning Ridge and the surrounding area such as the Grawin Black Opal fields, still have the largest deposits of black opal in the world and renowned to be the most stable black opal available.
Where to eat in Lightning Ridge.
If your looking for a great place to eat, well you are out of luck ! There are not many restaurants and most of them are over priced and really not too good. I would suggest buying some snags at the supermarket, and having a BBQ. The only restaurant worthwhile eating at, is Bruno's Italian Restaurant & Take-Away. And if your looking for a real coffee , double bad luck, I still haven't found one !
Lightning Ridge is the outback !
Make no mistake, even that it is only 800km from the east coast, Lightning Ridge is the outback ! Most wildlife here can be deadly. Be cautious of red kangaroos, snakes, spiders and even emus. The general rule, is to never drive after 4pm as the big red kangaroos comes out to drink water along the side of the roads. If you drive during the night, it is not a matter of " if you hit " but " when you hit a kangaroo.