The largest earthquake in Victoria’s history has damaged buildings and the tremors were felt across Melbourne and as far away as Canberra, Sydney and Adelaide.
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.
There’s been three aftershocks since, up until 10.15am, including a magnitude 4 on the Richter scale, also at Mansfield, about 15 minutes later.
“Geoscience has confirmed that there is a possibility that we may receive further aftershocks and potential risk of further earth quakes. Indeed, more aftershocks could occur for weeks, if not months,” Deputy Premier James Merlino told reporters.
Helicopters have been sent up to assess the damage, but reports have emerged in Mansfield township, metropolitan Melbourne and the Beechworth hospital lost power, Mr Merino said.
There have been no reports of injuries.
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.
“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.
Among the buildings damaged is the exterior of Betty’s Burgers on Chapel Street in Windsor
No one was inside the restaurant when the earthquake hit, 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.”
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.”
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.Internet Explorer Channel Network