Cue is located 650km northeast of Perth in what feels like the middle of nowhere. During the early 1900s Cue was the centre of the Murchinson Goldfields and earned the nickname ‘Queen of the Murchinson’. As you drive into town the first thing that catches your eye is the brightly painted water drums decorated by the local primary school children, which line the road . It is the first sign that tells you this town is going to be unique. If you drive through the streets of Cue during summer you would be forgiven to think you were driving through a ghost town. The wide street often remain deserted, due to the incessant heat and there is barely a soul around. Ghost town, maybe, but you can still feel the energy that once graced the town in its heyday. The architecture stands as a reminder of the wealth and opulence that once existed in this remote location of the State.
Brief History of Cue
It was the 1890’s and Western Australia was in the midst of the State greatest gold rush. Prospectors from all over Australia were heading west to seek their fortune. As the story goes, Michael John Fitzgerald, was the first to discover gold in the area, thanks to Governor, a local Aboriginal. Governor showed Fitzgerald a nugget he had found in his travels and when queried by Fitzgerald, Governor explained the nugget was no good, there were bigger ones over there (pointing in the direction of Cue). It wasn’t long before Fitzgerald and his mate, Edward Heffernan, began prospecting in the area. Within a week they had found about 260oz of gold in what is now the main street of Cue. Tom Cue , a fellow friend of Fitzgerald, heard of the men’s stroke of luck and went to Nannine to register a claim on their behalf. As fate would have it, the town was eventually named after Tom and so too the honour of being the first to discover gold in the area.
Things Are Looking Up in Cue
Today the small mining town boasts some of the most grandiose buildings to be seen anywhere in rural Western Australia. Wide streets, galvanised iron and quarried stone buildings are all part of the charm of this once-thriving mining town. The town at its peak supported over 2,000 people and boasted 11 pubs and 13 hotels. Many of the buildings of yesteryear are still standing and offer, anyone passing through, a fascinating glimpse into the State’s gold mining era. The town has taken great effort and pride in maintaining the many heritage-listed buildings, with many lovingly restored. As a result, the people of Cue were awarded with the 2004 Heritage Award for Western Australia. There are so many fascinating buildings in Cue, but none so quirky, as the Corrugated iron Masonic Lodge. Click here for more about the Architecture of Cue
Things You May Not Know About Cue
A young Herbert Hoover, prior to becoming the 31st President of the United States of America, was a frequent visitor to the town and often stayed at the Murchinson Chambers.
At one stage the town boasted three newspapers; The Murchison Advocate, The Murchison Miner and The Murchison Times, 11 pubs and 13 hotels.
In 1903, at the peak of the Murchinson and Kalgoorlie goldrush, gold was making up to 83% of Western Australia’s total export.