Meckering is a small Wheat Belt town 132km east of Perth on the Great Northern Highway, located within the shire of Cunderdin. For information and photos about visiting Meckering and things to see and do, Click here.
Thanks to Don Pugh for making this educational video available.
History of Meckering in the Early Days
The first settlement in the area was established and gazetted in 1887 about 3km north of Beebering Hill, originally going by the name “Beebering”, but it was not until 1889 that the surrounding country was officially declared an agricultural area.
By 1892 the Perth to Kalgoorlie railway line that was under construction had reached Beebering and a train station for the town was built in 1895. Beebering was then renamed “Meckering” in 1897 to match the name of its train station, and also because the locals had been referring to it as Meckering for quite some time.
The new name was chosen by the surveyor (and future state Premier) John Forrest, who had identified the town as a good location for a railway siding. The name came from a local spring named “Meckering” – an Aboriginal word meaning “moon on water” or “good hunting”.
The construction of the railway contributed to the growth of the Meckering settlement and by early 1898 the population for the town was recorded as 225 people – 150 males and 75 females. By then the town had a railway station, three stores, a blacksmith, a hotel, a town hall, a school, 2 banks and a post office. It became the administrative centre for a large region extending east as far as Merredin until 1920 when it moved to Cundedin, then next town along to the east.
In 1901 Meckering was linked up to the Goldfields water supply, the system designed by C. Y. O’Connor to transport fresh water from Mundaring Weir in the Perth Hills inland all the way to Kalgoorlie. The new plentiful supply of fresh water encouraged further growth of the town as more people moved out east to settle the land.
Bulk handling of grain at Meckering began in 1933 (and to this day the town is a receival site for Cooperative Bulk Handling of grain).
The 1968 Meckering Earthquake
At 10:59am on the 14th October, 1968 disaster struck Meckering from out of the blue when the town was flattened by an earthquake that shook for 40 seconds and measured 6.9 on the Richter scale. Meckering was the closest town to the fault line, but the quake was felt as far away as Geraldton, Esperance and Kalgoorlie and caused significant damage in Perth and other towns. Fortunately the earthquake occurred on a public holiday when a lot of people were out of town, but even still, it’s a miracle no-one was killed.
Photo: Sascha Grant on Flickr
The damage caused by the earthquake almost wiped out the town completely. Buildings were flattened, roads and infrastructure were badly damaged and some 40 local families moved away, never to return. But in the end the town managed to rebuild and recover, overcoming the hardships caused by the earth quake. The town was reconstructed in a location south-west of the original town site.
These days Meckering is a fairly typical small Wheat Belt community. The streets of town are quiet and sleepy and the shops and buildings a little run down, but it’s a friendly place.
Last Updated: 12th May, 2015.
First posted on 10th November, 2014 by Bonny.
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