Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Queen of the Murchison

I must admit I was apprehensive about the trip to Cue. It was a work trip, essentially a site visit. However, prior to the trip, I had not been to the Australian Outback and didn't know what to expect from the local shire and the people I would be meeting to discuss the proposed works in Cue.

Don't get me wrong, I was excited.

The plane trip up to Meekatharra was on the smallest plane I have ever been on. It was almost surreal. It was a turboprop that carried approximately only 20 passengers, all window seats! It was so tiny, I could reach out and rest my hand on the shoulder of the guy across the aisle from me! The flight was interesting to say the least with the stormy conditions in Perth as we took off.

Landing in Meekatharra was as if we had traveled to a different country. The weather was BEAUTIFUL! The drive down to Cue was even better. What a beautiful, vast landscape! The salt lakes, the big skies, the red earth. Simply amazing.

We went straight to work in Cue and walked down its main street, Austin Street. Oh, what a gorgeous selection of buildings literally out in the middle of nowhere!

Police station and post office


Former Bank of New South Wales


However, my favourite was not one of the state registered heritage places but rather this collection of shops, formerly a lounge and parlour. I found them simply delightful, with the dark timber joinery and the leadlights still with its original shop signage. I could just imagine the comings and goings in its hay day!

Some other eccentricities that enamoured me to the little town:



We managed to finish what we had to do on the first day so we were free to roam the countryside and we did just that literally. We visited the former Great Fingall Mine Office which sits precariously on the edge of a mine pit.

Former Great Fingall Mine Office

We went searching for a house that the CEO of the shire had mentioned but couldn't find it. We also went treasure hunting in the dump site of Cue. I found a part of a rusted tobacco tin with WD & HO Wills on it. Personal significance here as I was involved in the refurbishment of the WD & HO Wills warehouse in Perth. Some other treasures found by my companions included a glass bottle that used to hold nugget polish and a really old Penfolds wine bottle, empty of course.
Broken pieces of crucibles and test tubes used in the gold industry found in dump site.



When it was time to leave for Perth, I was reluctant as there was still so much to explore! So much more beautiful landscapes to capture. I came away with such a love for the outback. I wanna go back!

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