Mt Magnet to Newman

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July 13th 2014
Published: July 13th 2014
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We're back!

Travelled from Mt Magnet on Monday morning and got to Cue in a couple of hours. At first glance Cue looked like a prosperous little town but once we got out and walked around we discovered that the shops were empty and very neglected. Some buildings have been painted with murals by the school kids.

The old government buildings are impressive and they look like they have been made from local rough stone rather than the quarried stone used in Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie. There is a small park dedicated to a veteran from WW1 who was from nearby Day Dawn and was posthumously awarded the VC.

One store caught our eye, named by a handwritten poster “Hardly Normal” but it was closed with a post it sticker saying back soon. When we read through the community newsletter later we discovered that the owner was in Perth having Radiation treatment – but obviously with an optimistic attitude.

We wandered into the local liquor licence store for obvious reasons and discovered we had stepped back 80 years. This one was called Bells Emporium. It was crammed with all sorts of stuff in a haphazard manner like stores were when you actually got served by someone behind a counter. They had all sorts of camping gear except a new set of steps for the van.

What made it most complete were the wonderful shelves behind the counter still used to hold goods you have to ask for and the flying foxes to deliver money to the single cashier in one corner of the store. There was a white cat sleeping on some picnic blankets (still in their plastic wrappers however) and a brown standard sized poodle was patrolling the shop. Took me back to the store in Hannan Street who used to be station stocker, up in the block north of the Exchange Hotel. I have racked by brain and cannot remember the name of the store. It was an absolute treasure trove.

Thinking about dogs we believe the new age grey nomad now travels with their posh designer dog. In the past two weeks we have seen two schnauzers, 1 west highland terrier, numerous rat like things, 1 pincer, 1 standard poodle and 1 miniature poodle – this last poor creature was trimmed with bobbles etc and wore a jewelled collar. I wonder how Princess Bitchface would go as our travelling companion being a superior species a cat.

The Cue Shire Offices are now in what was the Murchison Chambers and the 2nd floor of the Building was the Murchison Club – a club for gentlemen - sure....

After exploring the town we headed to the cemetery. There we discovered that this was shared with Day Dawn and there are two distinct sets of graves. We discovered no one from Chris’s family here but did find two interesting memorials. One was for a Bridget May Bannon who was transported at the age of 12 for breaking curfew and the other for Staff Nurse F McKenzie who served in WW1. It is the first time we have seen a war grave for a female.

It was still early but we had done all we wanted too so headed off to our chose camp site for the night. It was at Lake Nallan. Very little water, no amenities and was littered. We found a reasonable spot and settled down with our kindles.

Next morning we woke to light fog. After getting on the road the fog just kept getting thicker for the next 50 or so kms, then suddenly cleared. Weird.

40 kms from Meekatharra we passed the Nannine cemetery and GMan said you had family there meaning Nannine, so we did a uey and went and checked, no rellies. All that remains of the Nannine township is an information board.

On to Meekatharra where I was able to exchange the wrong sized doona cover I purchased two weeks ago then we set out to do the town walk. Every information sign was damaged, if they still existed, and sometimes even the building was missing. We gave up and went seeking the bakery they claimed was still operating 100 years on. No bakery. The Royal Mail Hotel was a nice building and the best tourist area was a small grassed park with a couple of old pieces of machinery. We did go to the place we left our steps just in case they were still there, no go but there was one caravan filling up with water and two more lined up behind it.

Very disillusioned we headed north and crossed the 26th parallel, very low key compared to the NT. We had set our minds on heading to Billyuin Pool, a free camp 14 kms off the highway on the Ashburton Station Road. We got here and discovered a little oasis. We parked on the side of the pool in the Murchison River amongst beautiful gum trees. The pool is a little low at the present time. We have gone from practically no bird life to so many that Chris cannot keep up with them. The rotten things are just too fast.

So far we have identified an Australian pelican, immature white faced heron, straw necked ibis, white ibis, Port Lincoln parrots, Galahs, grebes, honey eaters, wattle birds etc. We got right back into our procrastination behaviour and just lingered here for three nights. During the day we would sit outside at our table with kindles, camera, bird books, binoculars, cups of tea or coffee and simply enjoy the peace which was only broken by the sound of birdsong.

On the second afternoon two camper trailers turned up and made to set up camp very close to us, so Chris started the generator and they moved away. YES. One day Chris walked around the whole of the pool this took about 40 minutes and it was a nice walk.

Our last evening as we were sitting enjoying the view a mob of Brahman cross moo cows turned up for a drink. They were very cautious and suspicious of us but eventually had a drink and wandered off.

We left on the morning of the 12th we set off back to the highway. We were planning on just turning up at the overnight stay which Richard and Gill (Graham's brother and wife) were to stay at on 12th however they managed to contact us before we achieved that. We reached the Gascoyne River Middle Branch free camp site first and found a wonderful site where we stayed overnight. There was abundant birdlife here as well. It took ages but Chris finally managed to get a photo of a Western Bower Bird, didn't find the bower however. There were raptors, honeyeaters, Port Lincoln parrots and another parrot I only managed to catch a glimpse of once. Just another beautiful spot, the river was flowing and the vegetation was thicker. It was noisier than the pool because it was next to the highway and more people stayed, many people will not go onto gravel roads just in case.

When Richard and Gill arrived we nattered until it was just too cold to stay outside anymore and retreated to our separate vans for dinner and the night. The biggest hoot of all was we explained we had left our steps behind in Meekatharra and they admitted they left theirs behind in Cue!

Richard bought out his digital camera and Chris fell in love. We definitely need a camera with better lenses to really get good photos of birds and flowers.

Headed off this morning, most notable change was that the country waiting to burst into bloom had gone the wildflowers are far behind us now. We arrived here in Newman early in the afternoon and booked into the caravan park. Need a little luxury after 5 days in the bush, mainly to get more water on board really and connectivity to the internet. Not only is the laptop in use but the tablet is getting a workout next to me as well.

This evening it is cold and threatening rain. We are meeting in the camp kitchen / BBQ area for dinner at 6pm so I need to make some salad.

Additional photos below
Photos: 27, Displayed: 27


14th July 2014
025 Western Boweer Bird

Western bower bird
I wonder what his colour preference was? It's a pity you weren't going to Geraldton because my sister is a native plant expert and could not only hop identify things, but could tell you what the Aboriginal people used them for, that being her area of expertise (apart from being an ace photographer)
15th July 2014

Not a Bad Little Town ....
Cue, by reputation -- or town promotion -- The Queen of the Murchison. Yes, the "Golden Grove Project" is / was the site of Scuddles Ag-Pb-Zn mine, which was well established by late 1991. Why is it now a "Project"?? Enjoy your travels.
17th July 2014

Shop Name
Bet you John & Marg Sullivan can give us the name of that shop at the north end of Hannan Street. Hello to Richard & Gill. Enjoy your catch up time with them.

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