The little Goldfield's town of Menzies delights those who take the time to stop.
It is very tempting to scoot through Menzies. I have shot through it countless times on hurried journeys to other places. Coming in from Kalgoorlie, 180kms to the south, I have not needed fuel nor food and the surviving federation buildings along the main drag - well, I just seemed to have passed them before I realised what they offered.
This time, however, I have stopped for a much-needed coffee after a dusty trip down the Golden Quest Trail from the north via the extraordinary lake-scape of Lake Ballard, 50kms to the west. And I am glad I have picked the “Achievable Outback Cafe” - it provided the best coffee on my trip around the Goldfields.
The Achievable Outback Cafe
I opt to stretch my legs around Menzies clutching a camera in one hand and my coffee in the other. A good choice, as it turned out.
The small amount of time it took to walk to both ends of the drag provided me with entertainment and education in equal measures. Dotted along the way are discreet metal installations depicting some of the past characters of the town, complete with quotes. It’s an understated, humorous look into the history of what was, once, one of the major gold towns in the region.
There’s an installation of a woman and child hanging out a pair of trousers. "Oh I wish this wind would stop! As soon as I hang out the washing, it's dusty again"
Another, by the ruins of the old bakery, depicts a man removing a loaf from the remains of the rusted oven. "A one-pound white straight from the oven - that'll be seven pence please".
The Town Hall is the standout feature of the strip, with its clock tower, turn of the century architecture and long, slit windows. A small war memorial lies by the side of the building dominated by a spectacular mural of Diggers on break from fighting.
At the other end of town is the now-closed old servo. Its walls adorned with a large, truly eclectic collection of rego plates from around the world and classic advertising from years ago.
I’ll be up that way again soon, no doubt, perhaps to visit some of the other remarkable locations in Menzies Shire - Lake Ballard, Niagara Dam, Goongarrie, or the graveyard with its distinctive metal grave markers - or for the wildflower display.