Cunderdin is now mostly concerned with wheat and sheep production. The town was gazetted in 1906 and the name comes from the Aboriginal word quenda and may mean
'place of the bandicoot'. Another possible meaning for the name has been suggested as 'hill in the mist' and yet another source says it may mean 'Big turkey'
but that is probably best ignored.
23km west of Cunderdin is Meckering, the site of a powerful earthquake (6.9 on the Richter scale) whose effects reached Perth in 1968 (I still remember the
day it happened). The fault line which developed is still visible near the town.
For some strange reason the good folks at Cunderdin seem to have decided to take temporary leave of their sanity and have allowed the monstrosity of an
'Ettamogah Pub' to be built in their nice little town. This hideous monstrosity may not be out of place in the cheap and nasty Gold Coast but in a quaint,
historic town like Cunderdin it stands out like the proverbial dunny in the desert. We officially hate 'Ettamogah Pubs'. They belong in the pages of a comic
book, not on the heritage streets of our towns.
To make up for this awful lapse in judgment, the Cunderdin museum (housed in the old number three pumping station) is one of the best regional museums you
will find anywhere. A donation is requested and if you visit you will feel giving a few dollars to help keep this excellent museum operating is well worth while.
Ensign Robert Dale (1830) and
J.S. Roe (!836) both passed through this area during
early explorations and they were followed by Charles Cooke Hunt in 1864.
The area was first used for wintering flocks of sheep which were moved west again during the dry months. An unlucky shepherd was E.J. Clarkson who was killed by local Aborigines.
Edward Clarkson worked as a shepherd with young David Hackett in a remote location near present day Doodalkine. When the attack took place Clarkson was speared twice and Hackett's
arm was broken. Clarkson knew he had no hope of surviving but told Hackett how to navigate by the stars at night and after a ninety mile journey, Hackett arrived at
Toodyay. The locals were so impressed they raised money to help Hackett get an education and he attended Christian Brothers College in
Perth. Later he went on to become a police constable at Gingin.
A police depot was then established at Youndegin 19km from Cunderdin and Constable Alfred Eaton arrived to take up his post in 1880. As miners started to move through the area towards
the goldfields, Eaton built an inn to cater for the passing trade. Later when he resigned from the police force he took up land and became the area's first farmer.
Before a lock-up was built in Cunderdin in 1911, offenders who got too rowdy at the pub were tied to a post of the hotel until they settled down. If that failed to do the trick they were
taken down to the Northam gaol.
Many of the early settlers in this area came from the eastern states, especially from South Australia. Most had come west seeking riches in the goldfields but when the gold did not
materialise they moved west and settled the land instead. In just ten year from 1890 the population increased by 400%.
The railway came through in 1892 and this was one of the many catalysts for development.
When the goldfields water scheme was being constructed, Cunderdin was selected as the site for a receiving dam and the first water was pumped through on April 22nd 1902.
During the Second World War an RAAF training base was established near the town and this airfield was destined to take over from nearby
Tammin which was then down graded to an emergency landing field only.
Until 1948, Cunderdin and Tammin were administered by the Meckering Road Board. After that time Cunderdin took over Meckering and Tammin
split to for its own administration.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
No information for this section yet. If you know of something we can add here please contact us and let us know.
Bulgin Rock Reserve, Collingully Cottages Patchwork Barn, Cunderdin Hill Lookout, Cunderdin Museum, Ettamogah Pub, Youndegin.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
Museum (former pump house) 1902, Bakery 1909.
State : Central Wheatbelt
Federal : Durack
Postcode : 6407
Local Government : Shire of Cunderdin
Click on a thumbnail to see full sized picture.