Images and video footage circulating on social media showed
rubble blocking one of Melbourne's main streets, while people in
northern parts of the city said on social media they had lost
power and others said they were evacuated from buildings.
The quake was felt as far away as the city of Adelaide, 800 km
(500 miles) to the west in the state of South Australia, and
Sydney, 900 km (600 miles) to the north in New South Wales
state, although there were no reports of damage outside
Melbourne and no reports of injuries.
More than half of Australia's 25 million population lives in the
southeast of the country from Adelaide to Melbourne to Sydney.
"We have had no reports of serious injuries, or worse, and that
is very good news and we hope that good news will continue,"
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Washington.
"It can be a very disturbing event, an earthquake of this
nature. They are very rare events in Australia and as a result,
I am sure people would have been quite distressed and
Quakes are relatively unusual in Australia's populated east due
to its position in the middle of the Indo-Australian Tectonic
Plate, according to Geoscience Australia. The quake on Wednesday
measured higher than the country's deadliest tremor, a 5.6 in
Newcastle in 1989, which resulted in 13 deaths.
The mayor of Mansfield, Mark Holcombe, said he was in his home
office on his farm when the quake struck and ran outside for
"I have been in earthquakes overseas before and it seemed to go
on longer than I have experienced before," Holcombe told the
ABC. "The other thing that surprised me was how noisy it was. It
was a real rumbling like a big truck going past."
He knew of no serious damage near the quake epicentre, although
some residents reported problems with telecommunications.
No tsunami threat was issued to the Australian mainland, islands
or territories, the country's Bureau of Meteorology said in a
The quake presented a potential disruption for anti-lockdown
protests expected in Melbourne on Wednesday, which would be the
third day of unrest that has reached increasing levels of
violence and police response.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Renju Jose in Sydney, Sonali Paul
in Melbourne and Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael
Perry & Shri Navaratnam)
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