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Celebrating the remarkable women of Lightning Ridge

Opal Queen Elisabeth Gale (seated) with l-r: Tamara Thomas (people’s choice) Sam Mehan (2nd) and Samantha Watt (3rd). Photo TWH

As the curtain closed on the 2023 Lightning Ridge Opal and Gem Festival, a radiant finale awaited attendees at the Opal Queen Ball, hosted at the Lightning Ridge Bowling Club.

The event showcased eight dazzling gems, each vying for the prestigious title of the opal industry’s ambassador at the esteemed Australian Opal Exhibition on the Gold Coast, Queensland, as well as local events.

The Opal Queen Ball is more than just a beauty pageant; it is a heartfelt celebration of the women who enrich the local community with their invaluable contributions.

As the festival’s spirit waned, the spotlight shifted to honour the unsung heroines who selflessly give back to the community they love.

This year’s participants proved that age and residency bring strength and depth to one’s character.

With a requirement to be over 18 and have lived in Lightning Ridge for at least six months, the entrants represented a remarkable blend of passion for opals and dedication to their hometown.

The judging criteria were distinct, favouring outstanding community involvement and a deep connection to opal mining heritage.

It was evident that each contender embodied these traits wholeheartedly. […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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