The little wheatbelt town of Meckering is located on the Great Eastern Highway, 132km east-north-east of Perth and about 20 minutes from Northam .
Brief History of Meckering
Explorer John Forrest named the area Meckering in the late 1880’s after the local well which bore the same name . Meckering is an Aboriginal word, meaning either “moon on the water” or “good hunting” depending on the translation. Forrest saw the area as a perfect location for a railway siding for the Government’s new Eastern Goldfields Railway .
In 1894, the line became the second stop east of Northam. It wasn’t long before more land was taken up in the area, though water was scarce. In 1895 the Government declared the area a town site and gave it the name, Beebering, a strange decision considering the siding was known as Meckering and Beebering was the name of a hill several kms away. Two years later and by popular demand, the town’s name was changed back to Meckering.
By the early 1900’s C.Y. O’Connor’s Goldfields pipeline had reached the town . Suddenly there was a reliable water supply. The town soon had a hotel, school, bank, post office and three stores.
In 1968 Meckering became a household name in Western Australia for all the wrong reasons. On the 14th of October 1968, Meckering was nearly wiped off the map by an earthquake registering 6.9 on the Richter scale. Click for more information about Meckering Earthquake .
Things You May Not Know About Meckering
From 1903 -1950 a local cordial factory supplied cool drinks across the entire state.
The 1968, the earthquake which virtually destroyed the town, occurred on the “Queens Birthday”, a public holiday in Western Australia.
The 6.9 on the Richter Scale earthquake would last 40 seconds, with its epicentre being 9km south-west of Meckering and leaving a fault line 32km long.
The Meckering Earthquake wasn’t the largest earthquake experienced in Western Australia. In 1941 an earthquake in Meeberrie measured 7.2.
The earthquake had the force equivalent of 10 Hiroshima type atomic bombs.
Meckering is home to the The Big Camera Museum, which is the only museum of photography open to the public anywhere in Australia. You can’t miss it, the building is designed like a giant camera.