Leaving home to begin our South Australian trip
Trip Start May 10, 2009
19Trip End Jun 30, 2009
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Margaret had never been to the eastern states of Australia, Mike had flown to a couple of major cities many years ago for work courses and Lesley had flown there for a few holidays but never driven over.....so something new for us all!
Lesley slept at her home on Friday night to be with Toby and then the next morning she met with Craig who house sat and took care of Toby for the couple of weeks she was away. Katherin was coming to look after our house so we needed to not only get ourselves, the caravan and car ready for the trip but also have the house prepared for Katherin's stay. By 10.23am we were all ready and drove out of our driveway on a cloudy but warm day with a temperature of 25C. As we drove east, the clouds became darker, the temperature dropped and by the time we reached Northam the rain came. This was no problem as it was not a place we needed to stop at for a look around and by the time we had passed Irish Town, driven through Grass Valley and arrived at Meckering at lunch time, the rain had stopped.
Meckering was built on an earthquake fault line and the original town almost perished in its worst earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale on 14 October 1968 at 10.59am which rocked the town and surrounding area. Besides the devastation in town, the Goldfields and Agricultural areas water supply suffered damage to its main conduit. A section of the 30 inch steel pipe was telescoped about two miles west of the town. The eastern portion of the earth's surface rose about five feet vertically as well as horizontally with respect to the Western side. We learnt all this from the signpost next to the damaged pipe mounted on concrete as a memorial to the day of the earthquake. 'Most houses and buildings in the district were damaged or completely destroyed. Miraculously, there were no deaths and only twenty people injured. More casualties would have occurred if it had hit during the night and if it hadn't been a public holiday. The Great Eastern Highway and the Transcontinental Railway lines were extensively damaged. Up to fifty kilometres from the epicentre water flow in wells was altered and the Mortlock River was dammed. The earthquake was felt over a radius of more than 700kms so everyone who lived in Perth then remembers that day vividly. A section of a wall and door left standing has been left to mark the spot of the old town surrounded by a beautiful and tranquil rose garden and shady picnic spot (The Meckering Memorial Rose Park) where we relaxed with our packed lunch. On the other side a couple of horses ambled to the fence in case we had something for them, oblivious to what had occurred there over forty years ago.
At Meckering the temperature was rising notably and by the time we left town and drove passed the 'Big Camera' it was 30C. We continued on our drive and passed interesting signs such as No 2 Rabbit Proof Fence, and through small rural towns we knew only by name such as Cunderdin, with the yellow aeroplane, and also the towns of Tammin and Poodakine which we hadn't heard of before. We arrived at the caravan park in Merredin at about 2pm where we stayed for our first night.