There is one name that brings a smile to everyone’s face in Lightning Ridge. That is Harold Hodge. Harold was a well know character around the town but he was known for his unique and shocking Opal false teeth.
Harold moved to ‘the Ridge’ in the 1950’s to open a motel. He soon fell in love with the Opal that was shown to him everyday and he quickly become one of the toughest Opal buyers in town. Harold Hodge was a great believer in the town of Lightning Ridge. He invested in the motel called Tram-O-Tel. He also owned the local slaughter house which employed local people. Harold would have been one of the men found in the local history books if it wasn’t for his teeth. Now his name is legendary in the area with his teeth on display at the Australian Opal Centre.
Harold Hodge had his teeth made by a dental surgeon. The surgeon drilled and replaced some of the tradition teeth with Black Opals. Each Opal was hand picked by Harold. His teeth would make even the toughest rapper proud (or was he the original).
Harold would walk around town and have person after person stop him and ask him to smile. Tourists would get told about this guy who walks around town with shinning Opals in his mouth. No one believed the stories about his Opally orifices until they saw him.
After years of smiling for everyone Harold took out his teeth and embedded them into the corner of his local pub for everyone to see. Years after Harold passed away his wife chiselled the teeth out of the wall for a keepsake. Over the years his notoriety grew and finally his teeth were donated to the Australian opal Center in Lightning Ridge. To this day you can still walk into the museum and see Harold’s famous Opal teeth.
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