Cunderdin

A central Wheatbelt town of less than 1,000 people, on Great Eastern Highway between Meckering and Tammin.

Visitors cannot help but notice the large Ettamogah theme hotel and pub when driving through the town, due to its redness and a car on its roof. It is based on the comics of Ken Maynard and is one of a few of these pubs scattered throughout Australia.

Cunderin is the home of the Bulgin Bush Race run from Cunderdin to Meckering.

Cunderdin Airstrip is situated next to the agriculture college. It was built early in the Second World War as a base for the RAAF flying school and bomber base.


Cunderdin Museum

The town's main attraction to visitors is its museum, which houses huge displays of farm equipment (surely the best in Australia) which encompasses the history of wheat harvesting, the history of tractors. The museum is housed in the former No 3 Steam Pumping Station along C.Y. O'Connor's pipeline to the goldfields. 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.


Meckering

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.


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Where is it?

156 km east of Perth.


Rabbit Proof Fence

Conceived around the turn of the 20th century, the Rabbit Proof Fence was a failed attempt to prevent rabbits entering the agricultural areas of the State. When finished it stretched 1,827 kms from near Hopetoun in the south to Cape Kenaudren, north of Port Hedland. Work commenced at Burracoppin in 1902 and that town was a major depot for the boundary riders employed to maintain the fence.

A fence west of Fence No 1 was constructed later and its line is crossed just east of Cunderdin on Highway 1. No 3 fence was later built out of Geraldton to meet No 2 fence and deter emus from invading the agricultural areas. By 1907 the three fences were looked after by a staff of 35. Twenty five of these were fence runners.

History of Cunderdin

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.

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