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. To commemorate this significant occasion, the Shire of Cunderdin and the community of Meckering will host a gala dinner on Saturday 13 October and a full day event on Sunday 14 October.
The gala dinner will provide an opportunity for Meckering residents past and present, friends and family, our event sponsors and others who may have been impacted by the earthquake or just have an interest in it, to come together to celebrate our amazing community. The gala dinner will be a spectacular evening of fine food, entertainment, dancing and of course great company, all in a beautiful marquee setting in the Meckering town centre. Admission to the gala dinner is by ticket only. Your ticket includes passed canapes accompanied by a beer, wine or soft drink during cocktail hour, followed by a seated entrée and main meal and finished with a dessert grazing table and complimentary tea and coffee. Live music will entertain guests as the evening progresses. A range of beverages including red, white and sparkling wine and beer (with Meckering’s very own “Richter Ale” on tap) will be available for purchase during the evening. Dress is formal.
Starting at 10.00am on Sunday 14 October, the Meckering Earthquake 50th Anniversary Commemorative Event will be an action-packed day full of FREE activities and entertainment for the whole family. Our Master of Ceremonies, popular ABC radio presenter Di Darmody, will lead us through the day's proceedings which will commence at 10.30am with an official welcome from the Cunderdin Shire President. At precisely 10.59am we will have a moment of reflection to recognise the significance of the earthquake that forever changed the shape of the Meckering townscape and impacted on so many lives.
Throughout the day, visitors will have the opportunity to take a site tour out to the earthquake ruins and fault line and hear firsthand accounts of the earthquake from local residents. Our newly revamped earthquake walk trail, just a short walk from the town centre, will be open to visitors all day. Your children will have no shortage of things to do with a free Scitech exhibition and science shows, carnival rides and face painting. Entertainment will be provided by CMC Music Awards Female Artist of the Year, Chelsea Basham. There will also be performances from the Meckering Primary School Students and Chad Woodsl.
Enjoy a beverage with friends in our pop-up bar and sample the speciality brew, Richter Ale which was made especially for this event from barley grown in Meckering. There will be a range of stalls selling gifts and produce as well as a great range of yummy food on sale throughout the day.
An Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service will be held at Trinity Church commencing at 5.00pm on Saturday 13 October. The service will include hymns chosen by past congregational members of the three denominations. There will be no communion. Past East Avon Parish Rector, now Bishop, Jeremy James will be in attendance for the service along with the Arch Deacon of the East - the Venerable Kathy Barrett-Lennard. The Service will be concluded in time for those who will be attending the Gala Dinner.
Meckering's Trinity Church will be open on Sunday 14 October from 11.30am. Visitors are welcome to attend the church to view historical artefacts and images from the original churches. Information on the Meckering Unmarked Graves project will also be available.
If you have a product or service that you would like to sell or promote at the Meckering Earthquake 50th Anniversary Commemorative Event, we invite you to apply to host a stall. There is no cost to have a stall, but you must be entirely self-sufficient. This means that you must bring your own generator (if power is required), shade and furniture. There are a small number of covered spots available inside our event marquee. These will be allocated on a first in first served basis. Please advise the event coordinator if you would like your stall to be inside the marquee when you submit your stall holder application form.
All stall holders must complete the stall holder application form. Applications (including signed Terms and Conditions) must be received by close of business on 31 July 2018. Stallholders selling food or food products are also required under the Food Act to complete a notification/registration form and submit this to the Shire of Cunderdin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fee's may apply.
Meckering is approximately a 1.5-hour drive from Perth. Parking will be available in several locations around the Meckering townsite, most of which will require a short walk to the event. Disabled parking will be available close to the event site. Electric golf carts will be in service throughout the day to assist people in accessing the walk trail, car parking and other event locations.
A coach service will operate from East Perth to Meckering (via Midland and Northam) on Sunday 14 October. The coach will depart the East Perth Terminal at 7.30am and arrive in Meckering at 9.45am. The return service will depart Meckering at 5.30pm and arrive back at the East Perth Terminal at 7.45pm. For more information and to book visit the Transwa website.
Accommodation in Meckering is very limited. 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.
The Meckering earthquake walk trail was officially opened at the Commeorative event on Sunday 14 October. The new 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 interprateive 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.
Farming is, and has always been, an important part of the Meckering community. To tie this in with the commemorative event a speciality beer was produced through a partnership with Lucky Bay Brewing. The malt barley used to make Richter Ale, was grown and harvested locally by the Snooke Family. A competition was run to name the beer and the winning entry came from former Meckering resident, Josh Pearse.
Richter Ale sold out in bottles at the commeorative event. It will still be available on tap at the Meckering Sporting Club for a limited time.