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Sunburnt lands

Firmly embedded in the culture of Geraldton Probus Club is to continue to be agile, creative and always connected to the communities in the Midwest.

The Pathfinder scouts for this journey were Russ and Trish, and Colin was allocated the spot of final convoy emergency vehicle.

The 4WD convoy left Geraldton at 8am on Thursday, August 27, 2020.


First stop was at a deserted Sheep Station located on the banks of the Murchison river. The Shearing Shed, accommodation buildings were all in a poor state and had been abandoned some years ago.  But, after a long drive it was very relaxing to sit by the river and enjoy some refreshment.


Second stop was at the Yallalong Cattle station set up by Pastoralist James Mitchell in 1867 and members were greeted by the Station Manager. Feature of the tour was an explanation of the extensive solar system used to power the station including the state-of-the-art Zinc Bromide Battery Storage system.


Wooleen Station is a remote outback station previously operated as a sheep station, but it is now a cattle station. It is now run by a young family whose focus is to regenerate Wooleen and find a sustainable way to run stock and look after the environment. This family has also focused on attracting tourism by offering comfortable and attractive accommodation and they also offer camping facilities.

The station has an interesting museum and guided tours are offered so that visitors can obtain personally current information on the features of the station.


The Murchison Settlement museum has a great collection of historic memorabilia. Particularly impressive are the early phones and switchboard used in the outback. The Settlement is a destination for much of the polo sport activity of the outback and several polo fields are found in Murchison.

Much of the participants’ kit and trophies from days past are included in the Museum’s collection.

The Murchison Roadhouse is only a short drive from Wooleen, and members arrived at the Roadhouse at 5:30pm, just in time to place orders for a well-deserved outback dinner!


On the way to Cue members travelled past the Murchison Radio Astronomy Observatory, which is the location for the SKA Radio Astronomy development. Entry is not permitted as this is a designated “quiet area.”  Those who had the opportunity to visit the Observatory during its Open Day were mightily impressed and the CSIRO spared no expense in providing their scientists and astronomers to explain current and future developments. This included the purpose of the many Radio Telescopes and antennas and the high-tech computer facility.


We had a long drive through Murchison / Cue Shires and enjoyed our picnic lunch at Afghan Rock. The natural pools, and a well that has now ceased to operate, made this a popular spot for gold rush cameleers to stop and refresh. Members on this occasion were carrying no gold, but they did refresh, and some members climbed the Rock!


This rock is reputed to have Australia's largest gallery of Rock art and Walga is arguably our second largest monolith after Uluru. The group was somewhat dismayed at the lack of appropriate fencing security in place to protect the artwork from disrespectful visitors.

Next they arrived in downtown Cue, sometimes described as “Queen of the Murchison”! Cue has many heritage buildings dating back to the 1890s. Some business opportunities still exist as during the stay members met a group of businessmen who were visiting Cue to appraise a prospective mining opportunity.

At this point Geraldton Probus Club would like to thank Pathfinders Russ and Trish for finding two comfortable places for the group to stay and enjoy outback hospitality: namely, the Murchison Roadhouse in Murchison Settlement and The Murchison Club Hotel in Cue.


Members arrived early morning in Mount Magnet to meet two Club members, Jackie and Sue, who had travelled up from Geraldton to join for the remaining part of the journey.

During the morning they travelled part of the local tourist trail and experienced the only “we are lost” experience of the trip! And that was at the Heritage Cemetery! Needless to say, they found our way again. Before the gravediggers could arrive!


This was the highlight of the visit to Mount Magnet and the Historical Society of the town can be very proud. The museum contains much of the Murchison region’s history and provides a great insight into the previous way of outback life! The museum is an unbelievable presentation in size, interest and detail and is a “must visit” to anyone visiting the area.


After a refreshment break, they travelled to Yalgoo and made a local tour of points of interest. In some cases, the buildings were no longer standing and had been replaced by a sign detailing the story of times past. The same comment could be made on some parts of the visit to Cue and Mount Magnet. Locals have departed these towns as jobs diminish. But it is all part of the Australian history in the outback. A great history. And we should remember and respect that.


The journey back to Geraldton took members through Pindar. Alas, the wreath was waiting for some warmer days... they might still be waiting! However, it was nice to see the roadsides ablaze with spring color and the everlastings. It was also great to see some green pasture and animals too as this had been missing for two and a half days during the travels through a very dry outback. 


Well, 5:30pm on a Saturday night and Mullewa was closed and already asleep!

They were now on the last leg of the journey, tired but happy to have made new friends and satisfied that they had completed the journey into the Midwest outback.

A journey that had taken them 1,200km through this sunburnt land with brilliant skies. Members would like to give thanks to Pathfinders, Russ, Trish and Colin for leading them safely through this trip. They are also indebted to the Club’s expert photographer, Richard Porter.

Thanks to Russ, Trish and Colin come with a request for an “encore journey” in April / May of 2021 – this time to visit to visit Mount Augustus.