A project from the National Trust of WA
A self-guided drive trail between the Perth Hills and Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields. Go with the Flow. Follow the water to discover more about the audacious goldfields water supply scheme and Engineer CY O’Connor.
“Future generations, I am quite certain will think of us and bless us for our far seeing patriotism, and it will be said of us, as Isaiah said of old, ‘They made a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert”
Opposite the service station, in Meckering’s Memorial Park is a display of photographs and a piece of the water supply pipeline that give a sense of the devastation wrought when WA’s strongest recorded earthquake struck.
Life in Meckering was typical of most small country towns until the morning of 14 October 1968. On that morning an earthquake, measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale, destroyed the township in a mere 40 seconds. The quake was felt over most of southern Western Australia, with reports of damage coming from as far away as Esperance, Albany and Perth. Unfortunately for Meckering, the town was almost directly over the epicentre.
More than 50 homes were destroyed along with churches, shops, buildings, sheds and water supplies. The pipeline was severely damaged. It was compressed, the steel pipes “telescoping” into themselves about 1.2 m. This damaged section of pipe has been retained and can be seen here. Both the narrow and standard gauge railway lines were stretched and buckled, and major roads were ruptured.
The damage bill was put at $1.5 million. Seventeen people were injured, some seriously. Fortunately no one was killed, possibly because the quake occurred on a public holiday when the school was closed and the shops empty.
Cunderdin Museum in No 3 Pump Station has an interactive Earthquake House which graphically illustrates the destructive power of an earthquake.
Click on any map section or place below to discover The Golden Pipeline.