A magnitude 5.8 earthquake has rocked Melbourne and demolished part of a building on famous Chapel St, with tremors felt as far as NSW and Tasmania.
The epicentre of the quake was 10km deep near Mansfield in Victoria’s east at 9.15am on Wednesday morning, according to Geoscience Australia.
The quake was followed by a 4.0 magnitude aftershock 18 minutes later.
The earthquake is the biggest Victoria has experienced since European settlement (1834) and there will be aftershocks, a seismologist told ABC Radio Melbourne.
Pictures emerged of part of a Bettys Burgers fast food restaurant collapsed on Chapel St in Windsor in Melbourne’s inner-city.
The burger chain later said in a statement that there was no-one inside the building at the time and all of its staff were safe.
Shakes were felt as far away as Tasmania, South Australia and some parts of Sydney.
Pictures have emerged of a Betty’s Burgers restaurant partially collapsed on Chapel St in Melbourne’s inner-city after a magnitude 5.8 earthquake
Damage to the exterior of Betty’s Burgers on Chapel Street in Windsor following an earthquake
Office and apartment blocks across Melbourne were evacuated, with homeowners closer to the epicentre in Mansfield reporting damage to their properties.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews made the first official reaction to the earthquake, tweeting at 9.47am: ‘Yes, that was an earthquake’.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison then fronted a press conference in Washington DC – where he is taking part in the Quad leaders summit – to reveal the ‘rare event’ had so far led to no injuries.
‘These are very rare events in Australia and I am sure people would have been disturbed by that, particularly in the most immediate area effected,’ he said.
‘The agencies at a state government level are there, responding and the federal government will provide the support that is necessary.’
Mr Morrison said he was in ‘text contact’ with the Victorian leader about the quake.
A homeowner near Leongatha in South Gippsland who was in the bathroom when the earthquake hit said the sound outside was like a ‘jet engine’ and the glass shower screen was shaking.
Pictured: Damage to the Betty’s Burgers restaurant. The earthquake has been reported in Victoria and tremors were felt across Melbourne and as far away as Canberra and Sydney
‘I grabbed my granddaughter and held her tight,’ the woman said. ‘It was very frightening.’
‘The whole world just shook,’ another Victorian said.
Alice Murphy, a resident of Fitzroy three kilometres north of the Melbourne CBD, was working at her laptop when the tremors began.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND’S BIGGEST EARTHQUAKES
1989 Newcastle earthquake
The magnitude 5.6 quake that struck in the suburbs of Newcastle, NSW is widely regarded as one of Australia’s worst natural disasters.
Thirteen people died and more than 160 were injured – with the damage cost estimated at $4billion.
The earthquake damaged more than 35,000 homes and 147 schools.
2011 Christchurch earthquake
A 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch, on New Zealand’s south island, on February 22, 2011 – claiming the lives of 185 people and leaving an estimated 2,000 with injuries.
The quake struck 6.7km southeast of the city at a depth of 6km.
The epicentre of the quake was in Mansfield in eastern Victoria but the shockwaves were felt as far south as Tasmania and as far north as NSW
Prime Minister Scott Morrison faced a press conference in Washington DC – where he is taking part in the Quad leaders summit – to reveal the ‘rare’ earthquake had so far led to no injuries
Melbourne residents walk past debris in the city on Wednesday after the earthquake, pictured right a police car in Windsor in the inner-city in the quake’s aftermath
‘For a second I thought it was a tram passing by or a huge gust of wind, but then the walls were shaking and the candles were bouncing off the mantlepiece,’ she said.
‘It lasted about 20 seconds and then everyone spilled out onto the street to make sure they hadn’t imagined it!’
A woman named Elizabeth from eastern Melbourne was on a work call when the quake hit.
‘All the windows were shaking, I yelled at the kids to come and stand in a doorway but our eight-year-old ran outside to see if any sinkholes were opening up,’ she said.
‘Fortunately that didn’t happen.’
Social media users in Melbourne reacted with shock after the earthquake shook the Victorian capital
New Zealander Colin, who lives in Ferntree Gully in Melbourne, said the quake felt just as powerful as the magnitude 6.2 2011 Christchurch earthquake that caused widespread damage across the city and killed 185 people.
‘About 30 seconds it lasted. I didn’t know whether to run outside or upstairs,’ he told Newstalk ZB.
‘I’m in a solid concrete house, so it really shook. It shook as much as I’ve felt in Christchurch.’
More to come
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