Every town has its idiosyncratic street names. There’s a Bald Knob Road in Peachester, Queensland, a Tittybong Street in Quambatook, Victoria, and a Curly Dick Road near Oberon, NSW. But Lightning Ridge has the best street names of all.
I have to admit to a thrill of excitement when I learnt that my new address in town would be on the junction of Halleys Comet Street and Fantasia Street. Fantasia Street! How goddam cool is that?
And just to add icing on the cake, Halleys Comet runs into Nobby Road.
The link, of course, is opals. Lightning Ridge is the home of the black opal, Australia’s national gemstone, and so these street names – Red Admiral, Black Prince, Butterfly and so on – all refer to some of the great opal finds of the past.
At Lightning Ridge Central School the high school classes are named after local streets / opals and so there’s Rainbow, Cardinal and Pandora, amongst others.
But, unbelievably, there is no Fireball class! What a missed opportunity! Who wouldn’t want to be in Fireball Class?
And there is no Shincracker Class! Oh my Godfathers! If I was a kid I would love to be in Shincracker!
Or imagine being able to say that you lived on the corner of Fireball and Shincracker! Oh, such missed opportunities …