Victoria braces for more earthquake aftershocks

VideoA rare earthquake rattled southeastern Australia, shaking buildings, knocking down walls and sending panicked residents running into the streets of Melbourne.

Victorians have been told to brace for more aftershocks and monitor for signs of building damage after the state’s largest earthquake in history.

The magnitude 5.9 quake hit about 9.15am on Wednesday, with the epicentre between Mansfield and Rawson in the state’s northeast.

The 10km deep earthquake - the biggest on record in the state - was felt across Melbourne and as far away as Canberra, Sydney and Adelaide.

Authorities say there are no reports of injuries.

Camera IconDebris on Wattle Street, Prahran, between Coles and Woolworths. Mark Stewart Credit: News Corp Australia

At least six aftershocks have been registered between 2.4 and 4.1 on the Richter scale, and further tremors are expected in coming days and possibly months.

“We are asking people to know what to do: drop, cover and hold is the key message,” State Emergency Service chief officer Tim Wiebusch told reporters.

There were more than 100 calls for assistance after the initial earthquake, with 55 of those in metropolitan Melbourne. Most were for minor structural damage to chimneys, facades and older buildings.

Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Wiebusch has urged anyone who discovers building damage to contact a licensed builder or technician, with emergency repairs still allowed under COVID-19 restrictions.

Some building damage has emerged in metropolitan Melbourne and areas near Mansfield, with Beechworth hospital losing power and one of the crosses at St Patrick’s Church in Wangaratta falling down.

Among the city structures damaged was the facade of a Brunswick Street building in Fitzroy and the exterior of Betty’s Burgers on Chapel Street in Windsor.

Camera IconAmong the Melbourne buildings damaged by the earthquake was Betty's Burgers on Chapel Street. Credit: AAP

No one was inside the restaurant when the earthquake hit, and managing director Troy McDonagh told AAP he expects the business won’t be able to reopen for months.

Some 70 insurance claims had been made to Allianz Australia by mid-afternoon, with most for minor cracking but some for “extensive damage”.

The earthquake was originally recorded as a magnitude six, but was later revised to 5.8 and then 5.9 on the Richter scale.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails