5 things to see and do in Meckering, Western Australia
Meckering is130kms (80m) east of Perth, on the Great Eastern Highway and is a stopping point on the way from Perth to the Eastern States. Established in 1887, less than 300 people live here now. But a big thing happened to this tiny town on Monday 14 October 1968. A violent earthquake occurred just before 11am, with a magnitude of 6.5. About 600 people were living in Meckering at the time and fortunately there were not fatalities. 20 people were injured and most of the buildings in town were reduced to rubble. The effects were felt as far away as Perth where older buildings shook.
Meckering has since been partially rebuilt and is now a tourist attraction. It is worth the stop to visit this resilient place. Located in the wheatbelt, you can see far into the distance, the beautiful blue skies above and golden pastures below.
Below are my 5 top things to see and do in Meckering.
1. Farm Ruins
'Salisbury' was an old stone homestead built in 1904. Its remains are kept in place today for visitors to see the devastation caused by the quake. 2kms north of town, turn onto Goomalling Road and signs will direct you to the property. Information boards at the site give information that shows how enormous the consequences were.
With my back to the ruins, I looked out across at the same view the previous residents would have seen, golden wheatfields. Standing at this isolated spot there is a feeling of peacefulness. It is hard to imagine the terror the residents experienced.
2. Historical Walk Trail
A self guided walk trail through Meckering is available at www.meckering50yrson.com.au. On the walk there is signage with information and photographs of the buildings that once stood here.
3. Gazebo and Memorial Rose Garden
The Gazebo hosts a display of information relating to the earthquake, including pictures and statistics.
On display here is a mangled piece of the Golden pipeline, and a section of damaged railway line.
Across the road a rose garden has been planted to pay tribute to the many local volunteers who helped at the time. A toilet block is situated here and the gardens are an overnight stay area for those who may wish to free camp. The free book exchange is a repurposed old fridge, and is overflowing with donations.
Look closely among the garden plants to spot creative metal native animals.
4. Earthquake Preserved Fault Line
32kms long and in some spots 2m tall, the earthquake literally ripped the earth open. 12kms south of Meckering on the York-Meckering Road, there is 1km of the fault line that has been preserved. This gives visitors a chance to see for themselves the damage caused.
5. The Big Camera
Sadly, the big camera was closed the day I visited. Built to resemble a 35mm SLR camera, it is hard to miss. It is reported to host an amazing collection of earthquake photographs.
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