Cue Things to Do

  • Morawa's Hermitage
    Morawa's Hermitage
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  • John Hawes' house
    John Hawes' house
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  • Hill 51
    Hill 51
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Best Rated Things to Do in Cue

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    Damage control

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated May 9, 2005

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    Come closer to the cave

    Places like Walga Rock are so isolated and visitors are so few and far between it's not feasible to have the physical presence of an attendant at the rock. The protection of such a valuable site is enormously important and relies on the the sensitivity of visitors to this amazing place.
    Driplines have been installed above the paintings to protect them from water running down the rock, trees have been planted across the face of the cave to shield them from the sun and bushes growing close are kept cleared in case of fire, but the main thing is for visitors to look but never to touch the surface of the paintings and to be sure to close the gate behind them as they leave.
    No-one would want to see visitors barred from the rock, hopefully the awe the place inspires will ensure those who come respect these measures.

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    Outback pilgrimage

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Jun 23, 2013

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    War Memorial, Mullewa

    Monsignor John Hawes - priest, architect, stonemason, sculptor, woodcarver and, in the last years of his life, hermit - has left an extraordinary legacy of churches, priest houses and other ecclesiastical buildings in the remote inland areas of the mid-west. Whilst the cathedral at Geraldton (450kms north of Perth) is his master work, it is the in the smaller parish churches, chapels and priest houses that his unique empathy with the land he lived in shines through. Mullewa, Morawa, Yalgoo, Perenjori and other tiny dots on the vast map of WA are where you will find his work, a wonderful testimony to one man's devotion to his God, his people and to design.

    Hawes not only designed the buildings. He worked as a stonemason on them, carved altars, gargoyles and memorials from stone and from wood, he painted and gilded, glazed the windows and made the furniture. His commitment to them and to the people he worked for was all-encompassing.

    No tour of this region is complete without visiting the work of this remarkable man.

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    Last stop

    by TheWanderingCamel Written May 10, 2005

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    Wreath leschenaultia

    There's just one last town to stop in as you head back to Perth from this trip - Perenjori. Another little wheat belt town, another small church on the John Hawes trail, lovely wildflowers and the strange and unique wreath leschenaultia that only grows in this locality, and on the barest earth. This beautiful plant is very elusive - you'll need to ask at the tourist office or somewhere else in town where they are to be found this year. Find the right spot and there they are, lying along the roadside, lying on the gravel like abandoned wreaths from some bush funeral.

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    Not quite a ghost town

    by TheWanderingCamel Written May 9, 2005

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    Old ghosts - Cue's Masonic Hall

    There's still plenty of gold in the ground around Cue, but the people have gone. The price of gold plummetted with the Great Depression and in 1933 the last mine closed.
    The windows of the Gothic timber and iron Masonic Hall are shuttered and broken, but the solid golden limestone buildings are still there. Tourists come in winter and spring when the desert becomes a sea of flowers; the rest of the year, the town is nearly deserted - not quite a ghost town.

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    The desert blooms

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Dec 10, 2005

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    Walk in fields of flowers

    Good winter rains bring the promise of a springtime bonanza of wildflowers to the desert. To see the dry red earth smothered in fields of flowers is an amazing sight that brings visitors from all over the world.
    Western Australia is listed as one of the world's botanical "hot spots" with thousands of plant species that occur nowhere else. There are wonderful displays to be seen all over the state but it is the flowering of the desert that is the most spectacular sight. The area around Payne's Find is particularly rich in the variety and density of its wildflowers.

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    Built on gold

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Oct 10, 2006

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    Cue Post Office 1896

    The solid stone buildings that line the main street of the tiny town (pop300) of Cue give a clue to just how wealthy the place once was.
    Gold was discovered here in the 1890s and when word of the rich finds in the region reached the outside world the rush was on. Within days of the first big find -260oz in just one week found near where the centre of the town now stands - 400 men had travelled the 650km inland to stake their claims. Before long the population had grown to 10,000, and by 1901 boasted electric street lighting, 3 newspapers, and a number of fine, substantial buildings. Cue was on its way.

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    A mystery

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Aug 25, 2005

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    Rock paintings

    There is a mystery about the paintings of Walga Rock. Among the ancient paintings is a clear image of a square-rigged sailing ship with two masts and square portholes. Whilst accurate dating isn't possible, experts are pretty sure it is at least 100 years old. Why or how it came to be here, 300km from the sea, is the cause of much debate, but it was certainly painted with local clays and with an accurate eye for the detail of such a ship.

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    Queen of the Murchison

    by TheWanderingCamel Written May 9, 2005

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    Bank and bandstand

    The supply of gold seemed inexaustible, new mines opened all around and the town prospered. The people of Cue were proud of their wealth and proud of their town. Photographs in the small museum in the Municipal Chambers show a thriving community with smartly dressed men and women enjoying their prosperity at weddings and balls, race meetings and picnics. The Gentlemen's Club and the Masonic Lodge built grand lodges for their members and the town band played in the Bandstand on Saturday nights. It seemed as if the town could only go from strength to strength.

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    10,000 year old rock art

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated May 10, 2005

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    Walga Rock

    The vast monocline of Walga Rock has been used by aboriginal people for more than 10,000 years as a canvas for their art. Using ochre from a mine 60km away and white clay from nearby breakaways, they have left behind a great gallery of work - stencilled hands, geometric designs, representations of humans and animals, animal tracks, etc. This is the best gallery of rock-art in the south-west of the state.

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    Emus crossing

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated May 10, 2005

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    Main Street, Yalgoo

    Leaving Cue and heading west towards the coast, the road takes you through a few little towns and interesting, rugged countryside.

    The most activity you are likely to see as you drive into the tiny hamlet of Yalgoo is a mob of emus strolling down the main street. There's very little here to tell you that here too gold fever struck and a bustling, rowdy tent city sprang up almost ovenight as fortune seekers flocked to the town when news of the first strike got out.
    Only one of the 7 hotels that served the miners now remains, it's been years since the last train pulled out of the station and the emus have the race track to themselves for all but a few days of the year.

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    A house for the priest

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated May 10, 2005

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    John Hawes' house

    Whilst the church was being built, Hawes - never very mindful of his own comfort - lived in a one-roomed shack but once the church was completed he was directed by his bishop to build a suitable presbytery. The priest house by the church (paid for by his own money) was the result - a gracious, low stone house with a deep arched loggia. The house is now a museum dedicated to this extraordinary man.

    Visits can be arranged by calling the church office.

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    First find your gold

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Oct 10, 2007

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    Payne's Find gold battery

    Whilst nuggets of pure gold are sometimes found, most of the gold in this region is reef gold, that is it lies locked in rock. To see how a small operator separates the precious metal from that rock you need to visit the gold battery at Payne's Find. This is where the individual prospectors can bring their relatively small amounts of ore to have it crushed and the gold extracted.

    Elaine Taylor who owns the battery is happy to show visitors how it all works - if it's not in use. She also runs a small visitors centre and gift shop adjacent to the battery with a lot of good information about the area, the gold, the wildflowers and the valuable local sandalwood industry.

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    A chapel for the sisters

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Aug 25, 2005

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    St Hyacinth's Chapel

    The tiny chapel of St Hyacinth that John Hawes built for the Dominican sisters in Yalgoo was one of his first commissions. Newly arrived in the outback, struggling with its heat, isolation and strangeness, he not only designed the church but often travelled the 120kms from his home in Mullewa on horseback to oversee the building work and work as a builder's labourer on the site.
    The sisters have long gone from Yalgoo, but the little church still stands on the edge of the town. Restored and lovingly cared for, it is a moving testament to the dedication of the outback's architect-priest.

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    A church for the town

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated May 10, 2005

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    Our Lady of Carmel

    Monsignor Hawes's vast outback parish was centred on Mullewa, 100km inland. The small town was a convenient staging post for people travelling from the port of Geraldton to the Murchison goldfields but by the time Hawes arrived there in the 1920s its main role was as the railhead for the wheat-growing region of the central west.

    Hawes spent 20 years in Mullewa and the church and priest house he built for the town are the most important buildings there still.

    The Church of Our Lady of Carmel is his vision of how his church architecture should both fit the surrounding landscape and express an aspect of the faith by which he lived - in this case the parallels of the antiquity of Christianity and the ancient land in which it stood. It is a solid, low building, built of local stone, with a bell tower and several quirky gargoyles. Whilst very much an individul building, it is reminiscent of village churches of the southern France and Spain, models that Hawes saw as most suitable for the region's harsh, hot climate.

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    A humble dwelling

    by TheWanderingCamel Written May 10, 2005

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    Morawa's Hermitage

    95 km south of Mullewa, in the town of Morawa, is perhaps the mosy idiosyncratic of all John Hawes's buildings - the tiny Hermitage he built for his accommodation when he visited yet another of the far-flung churches in his parish. The church is his work too, but it is this little house that perhaps gives the best clue to the character of the man. Just big enough for a bed, a chair and a small table, it presages the way he was to end his life - living as a hermit on an island in the Caribbean.

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