|Cunderdin Museum in the old pump house
Cunderdin (including Meckering)
Medium sized wheatbelt service town
Located 156 km east of Perth on the Great Eastern Highway, Cunderdin is a typical wheatbelt town with a population of under 800 people.
The first European through the area was Charles Hunt who arrived in 1864 and the following year returned to blaze the track which became known as 'The Old Goldfields Road'. He was followed by sandalwood cutters and itinerant shepherds.
In 1865 one of the early settlers, E. J. Clarkson, was killed by Aborigines and it was decided to establish a police outpost at Youndegin 19 km south of the present town.
The police outpost, which is still standing, was built out of stone and mud with a thatched roof and a nearby York gum tree was used as the lockup. A Constable Allerly was the first police officer in charge of the outpost.
In 1880 Constable Alfred Eaton arrived to take up duties. The goldrush of 1888 saw miners pouring through the area on their way to the goldfields. Eaton, always the entrepreneur, built the Youndegin Arms to cater for the passing trade. Among the food it offered was parrot pie - which was considered something of a delicacy.
It looked at this time as though Youndegin would be the major centre in the area. The arrival of the railway stopped all that. The railway passed to the north of Youndegin and by 1894 (the year the railway arrived) the pub had closed down and Mr Eaton had left the force, taken up land, and become the first farmer in the Cunderdin district.
Bulgin Bush Races
In 1998 The Bulgin Bush Races was formed by a very keen group of people to raise funds for the communities of Cunderdin and Meckering. It is held each year. Check out the details on http://www.bulginbushraces.westnet.com.au.
Things to see:
The central attraction in Cunderdin is the museum with its huge displays of farm equipment (surely the best in Australia) which encompasses the history of wheat harvesting, the history of tractors, and includes such unusual items as an iron tyre shrinker which was used for wagons, drays, spring carts and sulkies.
The museum is housed in the former No 3 Steam Pumping Station which is a large red brick building with a tall chimney. It was constructed in 1902 to house the steam pumps (one of them is still on display) which pumped the water along O'Connor's pipeline to the goldfields. From Mundaring to Coolgardie there were a total of eight pumping stations
Inside the museum the machinery which pumped the water from Mundarin to Coolgardie is preserved. The size of the interior has allowed for some very dramatic displays including a tiger moth aeroplane which hangs from the roof and a huge steam engine.
23 km west of Cunderdin is the tiny settlement of Meckering which, at 10.59 am on 14 October 1968, was struck by an earthquake which measured 6.8 on the richter scale. It was one of the worst in Australia's history splitting the countryside with a deep gash which can still be seen (it is marked by a sign which says 'Earthquake Fault Line') about 4 km west of the town on the Great Eastern Highway. Photographs of the earthquake are on display in the Cunderdin Museum.