Graham Snooke, now 77, has lived and farmed in Meckering all his life. He was on his tractor towing a hay baler on that Monday morning.
“I remember the strong wind when, suddenly, the tractor started jumping around,” he said. “I wanted to get home as soon as possible. When I did, the house was completely flattened. But I could not find any sign of my family. Unbeknown to me, they had started to walk into town.
“Many of us have had an opportunity to tell our stories about that day. But there are lots of stories that have not been told. There were the two families who were really impacted. One ran the local garage/fuel depot and they lost their business and their home when the quake hit. And the other family with four children who had to live in makeshift accommodation for several years. No one had home insurance for earthquakes.
“I also want to pay tribute to the eight very pregnant women who had babies within weeks of the quake and brought them home to very temporary accommodation . . . shearing sheds, army huts. Before the earthquake there was about 600 people in and around town. Now it’s much less. The State Government decided not to rebuild the public works office, the police station and the railways office. Many people decided to leave town.
“It’s hard to believe but some good came of all the destruction. The old townsite was not in a great spot, often prone to flooding. The new townsite is on higher grounds. The sporting facilities — the bowls, the tennis, the golf and now the hockey — have been brought together in one location. And with the three churches destroyed, we now have one — the cross-denominational Trinity Church.”