Francis Duggan

The Miners Of Lightning Ridge - Poem by Francis Duggan

Robert Service and Jack London poems and stories wrote and told
Of their great days in the Yukon when men risked their all for gold
When they flocked up to the bleak north braved the Winter ice and snow
For to make an instant fortune back a century ago.

They told in their poems and stories of hardships some did endure
Men who dreamt of instant fortunes but were destined to be poor
For the few who struck it lucky many worked for years in vain
And the stories of their heartbreaks to this day with us remain.

And though that was in the Yukon years ago and far away
Similarities still occuring in Northern New South Wales today
To Lightning Ridge the Town of opal and for many miles around
People come to seek their fortune mining opals from the ground.

Though the climate far different to the Yukon for the most part warm and dry
Mining for opals rough and hard work under hot Australian sky
And though hard work can be off putting a thing many don't enjoy
People mine because of their dreams as they did in days gone by.

From the opal fields of Lightning Ridge in north central New South Wales
Heard of sorrows and disappointments and not all of those were tales
Like the man who mined for thirty years in the blistering sun shine
And who died sudden of a heart attack whilst labouring in his mine.

Thirty years mining for opals and he still died poor and broke
And it's been said that Vincent De Paul paid to bury the poor bloke
Dreams of fortunes kept him going he was one of many who
Dreamt of untold wealth from opals but did not see their dreams come true.

And poor Johnny the ex miner he will never mine again
He has fallen into poor health and only the memories remain
Of what might have been or should be but just wasn't meant to be
Once Lightning Ridge's most experienced miner now he lives in poverty.

But amongst the disapointments one great story I did hear
About the woman opal miner she'd been mining for a year
Till she found a precious opal to a Hong Kong buyer she sold
And she got one million dollars for it so the story has been

Robert Service and Jack London wrote of men who mined for gold
And from Lightning Ridge in New South Wales similar stories can be told
Of those who mine for opals of the many only few
Who have seen their dreams of fortune out of sweat and toil come true.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 18, 2008

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