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Raising a swan at Lightning Ridge


John (King) Brown, at right, shares stories of the good old days with grandson Jaxon. The old schoolhouse is still in use at the Lightning Ridge Central School. Photos TWH

In days gone by, Outback NSW was a land brimming with captivating tales that evoked laughter, tears, joy, and wonder.

The remote and unforgiving climate shaped resilient individuals who faced daily challenges head-on.

Memories of a life devoid of modern conveniences, which city dwellers often take for granted, laid the foundation for the future.

Originally, I sought stories from the cherished days of Walgett Shire on Facebook.

However, the responses I have received has inspired me to extend this call to all readers of the Western Herald, across the area the paper covers.

What you are about to read is part of a story, as told to me by John Brown from Lightning Ridge.

My name is John Brown (though some call me King), and my earliest recollections of Lightning Ridge date back to the late 1950’s and early 1960’s when I was just a young boy, attending school at the old schoolhouse that still stands to this day.

I have so many stories but the one I am telling today is special to me.

It was well over 60 years ago when my family lived in a humble house made of corrugated iron with a flat roof, next to Artie Bruce on what we now know as Morilla Street.

In those days, electricity had not yet reached our small town, and water had to be purchased from the government dam.

My father, Spider Brown, owned an old Ford with a tank attached to its rear.

Water was a precious commodity in those times, and we utilized that murky dam water for bathing and washing clothes, ensuring not a drop went to waste.

One afternoon, while eating dinner (we always ate before dark), a thunderous bang resounded on our roof.

We hastily rushed outside, and my father instructed me to climb the ladder and investigate the source of the commotion. {…]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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