Meckering is a sleepy little town located on the Great Eastern Highway between Perth and Kalgoorlie.
Primarily a wheat and sheep area, the town is still famous for the earthquake that struck in 1968. The ruins of a farmhouse called Salisbury gives graphic evidence
of the power of the quake. See the History tab for more information on this.
There is a short stay caravan parking area at Memorial Park. It is intended for self-sufficient motorhomes and caravans. It is a great idea and allows people
to stay a little longer and get to know the area. This idea has spread across many towns in W.A. and we would encourage anyone who makes use of these areas to say a little 'thank you'
by buying something in town and let the people know how much you appreciate the facility.
Originally a station on the Northam to Southern Cross railway line, the area was first called Beebering and gazetted on February 17th 1887.
In 1897 the town name was changed to become the same as the station. The name Meckering was chosen by John Forrest.
It is an Aboriginal word which may mean ‘moon over water’ or another source quotes
‘good hunting’. The name appears to have first been associated with a nearby spring so 'moon over water' may be the original meaning.
The first land in the area was taken up as early as 1849 but the lack of reliable water in the district meant that settlement languished.
The railway arrived in 1892 and theis was the impetus for more substantial growth. Local government administeation was loacated in the town until 1920 when it moved to
The area has suffered much the same problems as other country towns with floods, fires, wind storms, plagues of rabbits, emus and foxes,
but it is best known for an earthquake that struck on the 14th of October 1968 at 10:59am. The quake was 6.9 magnitude and it flattened about 70% of the buildings within 15 kilometres
of the epicentre and injured 20 people. The area affected was 32 kilometres long and land was raised up to 1.5 metres. This damaged roads and railways as well as splitting open water mains.
Note: The largest earthquake to date, in W.A. was located near Meeberrie (200 kilometres north east of Kalbarri) in 1941 and was measured
at 7.2 magnitude.
Even Perth didn’t escape the effects of the quake with a number of buildings being damaged. There was even a 12 yard split opened up in
the Kwinana Freeway and one lane had to be closed. The quake was felt from Geraldton to Esperance. Luckily it all happened on a public holiday or the number
of casualties would probably have been much higher.
Aftershocks continued for quite some time and some people even slept in their gardens for a couple of nights just in case another large
quake destroyed more buildings.
There was some talk of re-locating the town but after much discussion it was decided by the locals to rebuild in the same area. I was
living in Belmont at the time and still remember the water in our fish pond sloshing about as the earth moved.
Meckering still experiences small earthquakes on a regular basis. Although Meckering (6.9) is the best known quake in recent years other
earth quakes have taken place near Meeberrie 1941 (6.8), Calingiri 1970 (5.9) and Cadoux 1979 (6.2).
TALL TALES AND TRUE
Deadly Tea Time
The first teacher appointed to the Meckering school in 1892 was Miss Margaret C. Walker. She had not long been at her post when tragedy
struck over something as simple as making a cup of tea. When making a fire to heat some water her clothes caught fire and she suffered for some 4 hours
before dying of the effects of extensive burns. Even making a cup of tea could be deadly when medical aid was so far away.
The sheep knew
One interesting story to come out of the 1968 earthquake is that a local farmer noticed his sheep gathering in circles with their heads
facing inward just prior to the quake. It seems that many animals have a built in sense about such events. More recently during the Boxing Day tsunami,
elephants in Thailand broke free from their restraints and ran to high ground before the waves struck
Camera museum, Salisbury ruins.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
State : Central Wheatbelt
Federal : Durack
Postcode : 6405
Local Government : Shire of Cunderdin
Click on a thumbnail to see full sized picture.