Scars not just on land­scape


It was 10.59am on Oc­to­ber 14, 1968. It was a pub­lic hol­i­day Mon­day and life in the tiny Wheat­belt town of Meck­er­ing was much like any other day. Greg Mor­rell was bring­ing a truck­load of lambs into town. Ann Wil­liams was mak­ing a cup of tea. Don Reynolds was help­ing his fa­ther de­mol­ish a shed. Alice Snooke was nine months preg­nant and at home. Gra­ham Snooke was on his trac­tor tow­ing a hay baler.

And then it hit. The earth­quake. For 40 sec­onds, the 6.9-force quake shook and all but de­stroyed the small com­mu­nity.

The phys­i­cal scars of that day nearly 50 years ago are still there to be seen. But the men­tal scars ran deeper.

For some, they were scars that stayed with them for the rest of their lives.

“It was very trau­matic for a lot of peo­ple, es­pe­cially the older folk,” one long-time res­i­dent said. “Many of them never re­cov­ered.”

Pic­ture: Sharon Smith

Meck­er­ing cou­ple Gra­ham and Alice Snooke at the ru­ins of their home, Sal­is­bury.

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