The main attractions in Cue are the historic buildings. The importance of the buildings is emphacised by fact that Cue was classified by the National Trust
in November 2006
The current sight of the bandstand (in the middle of the highway on a median strip)
marks the site where water was struck when the town was first developed. Rumour is that this well was the cause of a typhoid outbreak but
the miners had little choice as it was the only water for about 16 kilometres in any direction. Initially the well was sunk to 113 feet
before water was found and later extended to a depth of 130 feet.
A prominent feature on the Government buildings is the post office clock. It was originally presented to the town by
John Forrest but those
who had to keep it running would probably have preferred it if he had given it to someone else. Every day some 'lucky' person had to climb a
ladder to wind the clock up and move the counterweight inside.
Aboriginal art can be seen painted on Walga Rock (48Km west) and legend has it that the painting of a sailing ship that can still be seen on
the rock was done by the two seamen put ashore near the current day site of Kalbarri after the Batavia wreck and mutiny.
The nearby Day Dawn site is once again being taken up by mining leases and it is not an easy place to look around. It is still possible to
look at the old mining office.
Day Dawn was originally known as Bundawarda but was changed to the current name when Ted Hefferman named the site Day Dawn after the time of day
he pegged his claim.
Gold was discovered here in 1892 and a town quickly grew up around the diggings. Michael John Fitzgerald, and his
partner Edward Heffernan discovered over 260 ounces of gold in just one week. They initially became interested in the area
after an Aborigine known as Governor, showed them a gold nugget.
A friend of theirs, Tom Cue was away
in Nannine when the find was made and on his return he was told to hurry back to town and register the claim. Tom
travelled to Nannine to register their claim and it was his name, not Fitzgerald's that was given to Cue in 1894.
Soon after their discovery there were 400 miners on the site. Conditions were bad and it wasn't long before sickness
broke out. The miners took action and established a hospital but by the time a doctor had been appointed and brought
out from Geraldton, the fever had run its course and after a number of deaths it abated.
'Travels in Western Australia' written in 1901 said:
'At last I saw the lights of Cue. Electric lights in the streets, horses and carts, the shrill whistle of the railway
engine, boys calling out the evening papers...all told me that I had emerged from the "back blocks" and was once more
nearing the metropolis.'
The railway mentioned above was to run from 1897 until 1978. Its closure was an unusual event because at the time it was
carrying more freight than it had ever done in the past, so much in fact that two locomotives were required on each train to
haul it. The old railway station was restored in 1986.
At the time of the early gold discoveries there were several towns, each vying to be the 'main town' of the area. Day Dawn, Peak
Hill, Nannine and Big Bell each competed with Cue to become the most important settlement. Cue finally won the argument when the
Government offices were sited there and if there was any doubt after that, the arrival of the railway settled the issue for good.
The Peak Hill goldfield was discovered by W.J. Wilson when a horse strayed overnight and on following it up his found a number of
gold nuggets in a stream bed. Unlike Hardy Norseman (see Norseman) the name of this horse was unremembered by history.
Cue is quaint little town on the highway from Perth to Port Hedland. There are a number of
very old buildings and some of the shops are right out of the 1930s.
At its height, Cue had a population of over 10,000 which is pretty hard to imagine these days.
The old Bank of New South Wales building was the collection centre for gold shipments. It is said that up to a ton of gold at a time could be
shipped from here and that accounts for the large number of police who were employed in the town. One source quotes the number of law enforcement
officers at 25.
The early mines operated from 1892 to 1933 but recent price increases in gold have seen a renewed interest in the area.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
It is said that at one time the Cue lock-up had a very lenient gaoler who used to let the prisoners out into town during the
day as long as they didn't go near the pubs. If the inmates were not back at the lock-up by 10pm they would be locked out for
the night to teach them a lesson.
From the Shire of Cue YouTube Page.
Walga Rock, Garden Rock, Big Bell, Day Dawn, Historic Buildings, Wilga Mia..
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
Masonic Hall 1899, Dowley St. 1899. Government buildings, 1897, Bank of New South Wales 1900, Bell's Emporium 1904, Former gaol 1897, Cue Hotel 1890s, Gentleman's club 1895, Murchison Club hotel (ground floor) 1896, Rotunda 1904, Old school 1896, Warden's house c1900, Great Fingall mine office 1900.
State : North West
Federal : Durack
Postcode : 6640
Local Government : Shire of Cue
Click on a thumbnail to see full sized picture.