Victoria’s State Emergency Service says there has been damage to some buildings in Mansfield, near the epicentre of three earthquakes that struck this morning.
The SES said there had also been reports of landslides in Victoria’s north-east alpine region.
Mansfield Shire Mayor Mark Holcombe was sitting in his house at his farm near the town when the magnitude-5.8 earthquake hit about 9:15am.
“I went outside the house to see if there was any damage, which there doesn’t appear to be, but I could hear it rumbling across the valley,” Mr Holcombe told News Breakfast.
“It was quiet for some time after.
“All of the birdlife, quite interestingly, went berserk, so that was a real sign that something was quite wrong.”
A second magnitude-4 earthquake was recorded by Geoscience Australia nearby about 15 minutes later.
Mansfield is a town of about 3,400 people and is about 180 kilometres north-east of Melbourne, in the Victorian Alps.
The mayor did not know if there was any damage in the area, however a spokesperson from Victoria’s State Emergency Service said there had been reports of damage to several buildings in the Mansfield area, including to the local ambulance centre.
“People were running out on the streets, out of the shops etc, but no damage that we are aware of,” Mr Holcombe said.
“There are some problems with telecommunications, though — so some of the phone lines, I have had trouble getting through, so we just need to work out what they are.”
Mr Holcombe has lived in the area for 20 years and said locals had not heard of a similar earthquake in their lifetimes.
“The locals I have spoke to — I have only spoken to a few — they have had no experience of it, and they have been here longer than I have,” he said.
Earthquake sounded like a truck
Chris McConnell, who works at a menswear store in Mansfield, said he “felt a bit of a rumble” and thought it was a large truck arriving.
“Then it got worse,” he said.
“The actual walls started to rumble a bit and I could feel it in my feet, and I thought ‘hang on, that’s not a truck’.
“I thought ‘has something exploded?’ But there was too much of a long running rumble.
“You could feel it through your feet, and it was slightly unstable, but other than that I didn’t feel like I was in danger.”
He said he had heard of some minor damage at a nearby produce store where items had fallen on the ground.
“There was no creaking, no groaning in the building, but I could definitely feel it through the ground,” Mr McConnell said.
“It felt like a large semi-trailer coming through.
“I think phone lines are an issue. No calls have come through, but we haven’t had a power outage.”
Ralph Barraclough, who lives in Licola, in the Victorian Alps, said the whole area shook.
“It fairly shook us up here. I was worried about my house coming down, but it’s pretty solid,” he said.
“We’re getting quite noticeable aftershocks up here too.
“It feels like about a quarter and a 10th of the original one. And I can hear rumblings in the background too, but I’ve heard those since the actual earthquake.
“I haven’t had a chance to check in with people yet, but the phone is still working.”
Asha Martin, who runs a retreat at Jamieson, near Mansfield, said her neighbours came over after feeling the earthquake.
“They too looked like they had a heart attack,” she said.
“The sound of the earth under mountain rumbling and seeing the house rock and the trees outside shaking was quite remarkable.
“My son was freaking out as he thought it was an avalanche from Mount Terrible.”Internet Explorer Channel Network