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.
John Forrest named the area Meckering after the local well which bore the same name. It is an Aboriginal word, however, the meaning is unknown, though some believe it means either “moon on the water” or “good hunting”. Forrest saw the area as a perfect location for a railway siding for the Governments 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 townsite 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 to Meckering.
By the early 1900’s C.Y. O’Connor’s Goldfields pipeline had reached the town and all was well for this growing community. Unfortunately 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
The postcode for Meckering is 6405.
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 epicenter 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 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.