At 10.59am on 14 October 1968 an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale and with a moment magnitude of 6.5, changed the shape of the Meckering community forever. Although not the strongest earthquake in Australian history, it remains one of the most significant in terms of the damage to property and subsequent cultural upheaval. The earthquake destroyed the town center once home to a bank, hotel, shire hall and three churches. Of the 75 houses in the community, 60 were condemned. Railway lines buckled and the mains water pipeline folded in upon itself. Twenty people were injured that day but incredibly no one was killed. Once a bustling, growing community with a population of approximately 500, the town of Meckering was the political and cultural center of the Cunderdin Shire. On the day of the earthquake 45 families left the town, never to return. Many more would follow. Very few of the businesses rebuilt. Now a community of just over 200. The town of Meckering is a shadow of its former self. The earthquake was felt throughout the southern half of the State and caused damage in the surrounding townships, particularly York and Northam, and in the Perth metro area. The earthquake and its aftershocks were accompanied by rupturing of the ground along a line about 37 kilometres long, over an area of about 200 square kilometres. The Meckering Fault was the first tectonic ground breakage to be recorded in Australia. Sunday 14 October 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the earthquake that destroyed Meckering.
The Meckering earthquake walk trail was officially opened at the 50th Anniversary Commemorations on Sunday 14 October 2018. The walk trail was funded through a grant from the Foundation for Regional and Rural Renewal and the Meckering Action Group.
The walk trail takes visitors on a journey through the old town centre with interpretive signage providing descriptions and images of the commerical and public buildings that once stood in the main street of Meckering.
Visitors are welcome to view the walk trail at their leisure. Walk trail maps are available from Barkly Royal and Colton's Cafe.
Meckering offers a free overnight camping facility in the town centre.
A range of accommodation options are available in surrounding towns including Cunderdin, York, Goomalling and Northam. Booking details are available via these links:
The Meckering Earthquake 50th Anniversary Commemorations were held over the weekend of 13 and 14 October 2018. Over 2,000 visitors travelled to Meckering over the weekend from as far away as Victoria and Townsville.
The weekend kicked off with the sold out Gala Dinner on Saturday evening, which catered for 190 guests under a marquee in the Meckering town centre. The night commenced with a cocktail hour under the stars and progressed through a three-course meal accompanied by Richter Ale and a selection of Willespie Wines. Entertainment was provided by a local DJ and band 'Another Fine Mess'.
The Commemoration event was opened on Sunday by the Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC, with Shire President, Dennis Whisson providing the official welcome to residents and visitors.
Throughout the day bus tours took visiotrs out to remnant earthquake sites around Meckering. A display of Meckering earthquake memorabilia, including photos, letters, recorded accounts and video, captured the essence of the earthquake's devastion by showcasing Meckering in it's glory days and the aftermath of the earthquake of October 1968.
Family entertainment catered for all generations on Sunday with a marquee full of market stalls, a Scitech exhibition and science shows, carnival rides, laser tag, face-painting, food vans and a pop-up bar for returning families to reminisce over a Richter Ale. Main stage performances were provided by Country Music Female Artist of the Year, Chelsea Basham, Meckering Primary School students and Chad Woods with his song, “Meckering". A panel interview led by the day's MC, ABC radio presenter Di Darmody, included past and present Meckering residents - Stan Hill, Lawrie Reynolds, Ann Williams and Graham Snooke - and allowed the audience to hear first hand accounts of the earthquake and its impact on the community.
The organisers of the Meckering Earthquake 50th Anniversary Commemorations would like to thank the many volunteers and generous sponsors who made this event such a huge success.