Commissioned: New York Times Assignments: NYTimes-assignments3

Local opal miners attend the funeral service for Valerie Van Emmerik at the bowling club in Lightning Ridge. Valerie Van Emmerik's funeral was carried out by the Lightning Ridge Funeral Advisory Service which was established by returned servicemen in 1980 because the closest undertaker was 77 kilometres away in Walgett.  The small group manage to keep their small refrigirator and stock of caskets at the town's hospital while they have used a shed at the back of the old RSL (Retired Service League) clubhouse to keep the two hearses and lowering equipment. Recently the local Walgett Shire Council wrote  to the RSL President seeking to negotiate ownership of the sheds and their contents. This new development leaves the local volunter funeral service uncertain of their future in Lightning Ridge. Conor Ashleigh for The New York Times.

Local opal miners attend the funeral service for Valerie Van Emmerik at the bowling club in Lightning Ridge. Valerie Van Emmerik's funeral was carried out by the Lightning Ridge Funeral Advisory Service which was established by returned servicemen in 1980 because the closest undertaker was 77 kilometres away in Walgett. The small group manage to keep their small refrigirator and stock of caskets at the town's hospital while they have used a shed at the back of the old RSL (Retired Service League) clubhouse to keep the two hearses and lowering equipment. Recently the local Walgett Shire Council wrote to the RSL President seeking to negotiate ownership of the sheds and their contents. This new development leaves the local volunter funeral service uncertain of their future in Lightning Ridge. Conor Ashleigh for The New York Times.