The first night in CUE and a good sleep ensued, i was awoken by the unmistakeable sound of rain falling on the caravan roof lightly at first but then a little heavier, bad news for prospecting in the flat red dirt but ordinarily a most welcomed sound out here. The clouds had been chasing us all the way from Perth some 640 kilometres behind us.
Dawn was breaking to a cloudy start and the wonderful Yorkshire term "Damping" not really raining but gets you wet anyway. As the rest of the crew mustered it was decided that we would wait a further day before setting off for our fortune.
CUE boasted a population of 10,000 around 1890 I cannot imagine the hardship faced in just getting there, no airconditioned turbocharged auto 4wd then.
No one knows who discovered gold at Cue but it is likely that the first find was made by Michael John Fitzgerald who, after an Aborigine named Governor had found a 10 oz nugget nearby, decided to prospect in the area. It is claimed that Governor presented the nugget to Fitzgerald remarking 'This fellow slug no good, plenty bit fellow slug over there'. It took Fitzgerald and his friend Edward Heffernan one week to find 260 ozs of gold near what is now the main street of Cue. They then told Tom Cue who travelled to Nannine to register their claim. Ironically it was Cue who gave his name to the town.
So Monday sees us hit the road north in perfect sunshine, it hadn't been a good night on the road for the kangaroos with lots of fresh road kill in evidence, Road trains are not able to stop or swerve to avoid the errant roos when they venture onto the bitumen at night. Unfortunately the two animals that are on our coat of arms are both pretty stupid when it comes to colliding with vehicles whereas goats which are beside the road in the thousands rarely become victims.
The road kill smorgasbord is manna from heaven for lots of other animals none more majestic than the wedge tail eagle, but beware the wedgie that has had a big breakfast and is reluctant to move off the carcase they are slow to get airbourne and invariably need to take off into the wind and can become a casualty themselves.
So after a while we get to Tukinara homestead and turn off the bitumen onto the dirt over the cattle grid and travel for nearly another hour, these dirt roads are quite good as they were well built and maintained as haul roads for the mines and station access roads. The previous sprinkle of rain was keeping the dust down which was good if you were in the 3rd vehicle. We passed by a huge opencut pit and its associated piles of waste or processed ore at a location known as REEDYS which was operating up to 1986
Soon after we turned off onto a lease owned by ATW a Canadian company that was due to be sold that next weekend so we had permission to fossick for a week at least.
We soon set up our camp and even had time to go for a bit of a bip, we had 2way radios and a box of matches just in case you got lost, it was amazing how you didn't need to get far away and you couldn't see the vehicles or the camp .
Made my first sour dough and put it in the cold camp oven over night to prove as it gets chilly at night, got up at first light and put the camp oven in the remains of the previous nights fire, scraping all the ash away at the base and placing on top of the lid,
as it turned out still a bit to hot on the base and could have been hotter on the top.
It was wonderfull with soup at lunch time. After a few hours bliping
Final episode and some nice pictures of gold to come in part 3