Wilgie Mia
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This trip went from Perth to Cue, which is situated 650 kilometres North of Perth. Driving up Brand Highway (along the coast), you’ll eventually get to Geraldton. We had an overnight stay in Northampton. Most pubs have some sort of accommodation to offer (motel type)...

  W i l g i e  M i a - Geraldton, Northampton, Mullewa, Yalgoo, Mt Magnet, Cue         
Butterfly on Wildflower, chased and captured by Stephen

This trip went from Perth to Cue, which is situated 650 kilometres North of Perth. Driving up Brand Highway (along the coast), you’ll eventually get to Geraldton. We had an overnight stay in Northampton. Most pubs have some sort of accommodation to offer (motel type). Northampton is quite a small town with a few churches build by a Priest called Monsignor Hors?, who had made it his mission to build churches around the Western Australian country side, with his bear hands and the material found in the region.

 The style of these churches can be described as somewhat mixed. A bit of oriental and European architecture all mixed up, quite interesting to visit. He also designed the one big catholic church in Perth, which looks a bit more conventional. We also visited some old prison ruins close to Port Gregory. The countryside around this area is green and lucious and quite different from the sort of views we enjoyed later, on our way to Cue. From Northampton we had a short country drive, until we hit Mullewa and Road 123. In Mullewa we could enjoy yet another Monsignor Hors church. After a short tea break we went on to Mount Magnet, a big mining town, as most of the outback towns are. As we passed Mt Magnet and its hills of excavated earth with different layers of soil types, the countryside turned truly arid for the first time.

Prison ruins at Port Gregory Penal Station
Prison ruins Break at a church in Mullewa build by Monsenior Hours
Cue, empty building withering away

Low growing shrubs, orange to red earth, some wildflowers and big salty lakes that had a pink to white rim. The vegetation around these lakes is quite special aswell. The colours of specialised low growing shrubs are dark purple, similar to the vegetation type around the wetlands down in D’Entrecasteaux National Park (South of Perth). Finally we reached Cue an even smaller town in comparison to Mt Magnet. Cue has one pub with accommodation and this is where we stayed at.

White man made entry to Wilgie Mia ocre mine Cue, road to Wilgie Mia

Comfortable and friendly, which is generally the case when travelling around the Western Australian country side. We met an elderly couple, about seventy years of age at the breakfast table. They were on their way to Carnavon, another 600 kilometres up North. Wonderful place with white sandy beaches and the sea, what more would you want. We were quite impressed, cause they had already been on a long drive and it can get quite tiring even for younger drivers.

View from above, entry created through Aboriginal miners
Looking at yellow ocre veines At the top of the mine
Views around the mine

 This is something that I have noticed about the senior generation in Western Australia, they are all much fitter than their equals in Germany. Must be a climate thing. Anyway, on that day we drove down to Wilgie Mia which means "Place of Ochre" in the language of the Aboriginal people, the true holders of the land. This mine is said to be the oldest in the worlds history. The ochre pigments are used for traditional ceremonies and paintings and were mined and traded with around Western Australia and sometimes across state borders. 

Cue in the Morning

The story told by the Aboriginal tribe in this area was that the mine came into being by big kangaroo-spirit falling onto the earth.As it impacted, it was killed by the force and its blood was spilled and sunk into the earth as red ochre aswell as its bowl which became the yellow and green ochre. This is only a vague recollection of what I red somewhere, but nevertheless interesting. As we entered the mine and got to the main cave and there it was: a big dead Kangaroo with a long spine and the skin only covering the left over bones. 

Wildflowers at Paynes Find

Maybe it was there to remind us of the story and the sprits. We did not find any green ochre but wonderful looking yellow veins through the red stone walls. If you ever visit this place, you may want to wear some old clothing, because the ochre sticks on everything. It’s an amazing place anyway. The way there is a bit straining if you are not in a 4-wheel-drive and even then I could imagine it to be quite humpy. A 70 kilometre track leads there. Beware of rainy days. The road can get quite difficult. Oh, and take a good map, ‘cause the signs are a bit confusing at times. As we drove back, we experienced the greatness of the outback sunsets. It seems, as if the land gets dipped into a yellow-orange and red colour pot. The night active animals of the outback red kangaroos emus seem to wake up to this sun spectacle, making the drive back a bit complicated but unforgettable. On our way back to Perth from Cue we went down south further inland via the Great Northern Highway. On this route we saw the most wildflowers. Beds of yellow, pink and white sticky everlastings and other flower types. A magical sight to me. We also stopped at New Norcia and old Monastery town. We visited the Monastery and had a look at the local arts and crafts display inside. This is the place where "Perthians" get their good bread and buns. This trip opened my eyes for the outback and its silent beauty.

Last edited 19-06-01

Photo Nr. 01, 03, 05, 06, 11, 13, 14 by Stephen Goss

Photo Nr. 08, 09, 02, 04, 15, 10 by P. G. Goss

© A.Goss, April 2001