On the 14th October 1968, an earthquake rocked the small Wheatbelt town of Meckering in Western Australia, demolishing 60 of the 75 homes, and most of the commercial buildings in a matter of minutes. The population was effectively reduced to a quarter of its original 500 inhabitants, as most of the business owners and many local families never returned to rebuild.
But fast forward 5 decades, and Meckering is again a thriving community with the vision and talent required to host a remarkable commemoration weekend recently, in celebration of 50 years since that fateful day. And I had the pleasure of covering the glitzy evening that was the Gala Dinner on the Saturday night!
Held in a Swan Events marquee in the middle of town, 200 guests from all over Australia enjoyed a fabulous 3 course dinner catered by Citron’s Catering, an exclusive commemorative beer by Lucky Bay Brewing (aptly named Richter Ale!), and music by DJ Mac and one of our favourite local bands, Another Fine Mess. Rosary Floral Design provided the gorgeous floral arrangements dotted around the marquee, while the boys from the Cunderdin Football Club did a sterling job of serving tables throughout the evening.
Then Sunday saw over 2000 people descend on the town for a day of celebration, which included bus tours to the earthquake fault line, a display of memorabilia in the Hall, and the unveiling of the revamped earthquake walk trail.
A huge thanks must go out to Rebekah Burges and her team of 30 local volunteers, for the 12 months of work that went into bringing this incredible weekend to fruition. What a credit to you all, and a shining example of what’s possible out here in the Wheatbelt!