Victoria hit by largest earthquake in its history

The largest earthquake in Victoria’s history has damaged buildings, with tremors felt across Melbourne and as far away as Canberra, Sydney and Adelaide.

Sep 22, 2021, updated Sep 22, 2021
Damage to the exterior of Betty’s Burgers on Chapel Street in Melbourne following an earthquake. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Damage to the exterior of Betty’s Burgers on Chapel Street in Melbourne following an earthquake. (AAP Image/James Ross)

The magnitude 5.8 quake was 10km deep and centred at Mansfield, a small town on the foothills of Victoria’s alps, at around 9.15am on Wednesday, according to Geoscience Australia.

A second quake registered at magnitude 4 on the Richter scale followed, also at Mansfield, about 15 minutes later.

Seismology Research Centre Chief Scientist Adam Pascale said aftershocks could continue for months, although people may not feel them.

“A magnitude 5.8 makes this the largest onshore earthquake in Victoria in recorded history,” he told AAP.

“It’s a pretty significant earthquake for this state.

“There’ve been aftershocks every few minutes afterwards, the largest (4.7) about 15 minutes afterwards. We expect those aftershocks to continue for months probably.”

Houses in Melbourne shook and movement was felt in Geelong and even at Canberra’s Parliament House, Sydney’s CBD, northern Tasmania and parts of Adelaide and other areas in South Australia.

Victoria’s State Emergency Service has received calls for assistance from across the state and is yet to make an assessment of any damage.

But there are reports of damage in Prahran, Brunswick, West Melbourne and Albert Park and to the exterior of Betty’s Burgers on Chapel Street in Windsor.

No one was inside Betty’s Burgers but a tenant was upstairs in the same building when the earthquake hit, restaurant managing director Troy McDonagh told AAP.

“We’re out for months, it’s structural, it looks like the top’s come away, we need to get engineers in to assess it and then the works will need to be completed,” he said.

Kim, who was working in the kitchen at Nguyen’s Hot Bread in Windsor, opposite Betty’s Burger, said it was a scary situation.

“It was very loud, I thought the building had collapsed, so I came outside and I saw smoke everywhere and luckily no one was under the building,” she told AAP.

Lynne Myers of High County Apparel in Mansfield, where the quake emanated, told AAP it was a frightening few minutes but there was no damage.

“Everything shook, the roof shook, boots fell off the shelf and I just ran outside,” she said.

“There’s no cracks or anything in the walls. We seem to have got over it pretty well.”

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Craig Luelf from the All Seasons Mansfield resort said he was outside the town hospital when he felt “waves of the ground moving.”

“At first, I thought the car was having a few issues and then realised all of a sudden that everything was moving,” he told AAP.

“My father’s neighbour is at the top of a hill and he could see the waves of the ground moving up the hill.

Tremors were also felt as far away as the NSW central coast, nearly 1000km from Melbourne.

Building movement was reported in Sydney’s CBD and some suburbs of Sydney.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is currently in Washington DC, said he had spoken by text with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews following the earthquake.

“It can be a very, very disturbing event for an earthquake of this nature,” he told reporters.

“They are very rare events in Australia and as a result, I am sure people would have been quite depressed and disturbed by that, particularly in the most immediate area affected.”

Any federal response to the emergency will be handled by Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

The earthquake was originally recorded as a magnitude 6 but was later revised 5.8 on the Richter scale.

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