Victoria quake shakes Christchurch ex-pats

Posted 20 Jun 2012 by Media3News Popular
Posted in Recent Quakes , Media
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Stock is toppled off shop shelves by an earthquake in the Australian state of Victoria

Stock is toppled off shop shelves by an earthquake in the Australian state of Victoria

By Brooke Sabin

The Australian state of Victoria has been shaken by its biggest earthquake in more than a century.

Victoria has only ever experienced two earthquakes bigger than this one.

At magnitude 5.3 the damage it caused was nothing compared with what was seen in Christchurch - but it came as a nasty reminder to the many Kiwis who have fled from Christchurch to Australia and thought they had put earthquakes behind them.

Hannah Barnes left Christchurch for a new quake-free life in Melbourne just three weeks ago.

“I just got that feeling and my stomach dropped,” she says.

The earthquake struck just before 9pm last night in the state's south-east, near the small town of Moe.

It was widely felt in Melbourne and as far north as the New South Wales border.

“It sounded like a big jumbo jet, just waiting for it to hit, everything was shaking, paintings were all on an angle,” says one resident who was near the epicentre of the quake when it hit.

Victoria's quake was the same size as the latest major aftershock which hit Christchurch last month.

Former Cantabrian Matt Wilson moved to Melbourne just over a year ago.

“Well initially I didn’t think much of it. I was thinking okay we’re in Melbourne – you don’t get earthquakes – but after a couple of seconds I realised what was going on,” he says.

“Being in an apartment block you can feel it a lot more.”

Even the Aussies felt relieved that they didn’t feel the full-on Christchurch experience.

“In terms of earthquakes internationally, it’s not a huge event, but in fact New Zealand would probably say, ‘That’s not an earthquake, just look at ours,'” says Dan Jaksa of Geoscience Australia.

Constant aftershocks have driven an exodus from Canterbury. In the past year more than four thousand people have left Christchurch for Australia. The previous year, that figure was just under 2000.

While there was no serious damage or injuries in the Victoria quake, Ms Barnes says she was still shaken.

“I’m nervous to go into the city because of aftershocks,” she says.

It's all too familiar, for those who've had more than their fair share already.


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