I was momentarily gripped by panic around 9pm last night.
A slow rumble sounded all around - a bit like a storm brewing, no wait....more like a freight train speeding through the house paddock.
The floor was vibrating under my feet, the walls were visibly shaking, windows rattling.
Lasted way longer than a thunder clap - maybe 10 seconds? With no storm forecast....and no trainline within coo-ee of our town - this HAS to be an earthquake.
Sure enough, today's news reported a 4.4 earthquake centred at Lake Keepit near Gunnedah, around 200 kms south of us. Thankfully no one was hurt and no major damage to property.
Last night's panic was very real.
I flinch at the slightest ground vibration.
I have an intense urge to run outside.
This is why........
King St, Newcastle, 28th December 1989.
A major earthquake hit, measuring 5.5.
The Worker's Club collapsed (along with many other shops and houses) - 13 people lost their lvies.
I was a few blocks away, also on King St.
I felt the full force of this 'thing' and experienced the bewildering aftermath of confusion and disbelief that everyone in Newcastle felt that day.
First thought - our building has just been slammed into by a semi-trailer (that was how loud and sudden the noise was).
Followed by - truck accidents do not cause a concrete slab floor to ripple in waves like someone shaking out a tablecloth.
Once evacuated to the street and confronted by a huge mushroom cloud of dust across the road my next thought was - someone just bombed the Worker's Club.
Total realisation really did not dawn until we were finally cleared to leave and I drove my little blue Suzuki out of the city toward my house, 20 minutes away.
I passed ambulance after ambulance, collapsed shop awnings, building ruins, groups of people milling around in shock - it was like something from a bad disaster movie.
I will never forget it.
Thank god we live in Australia and not San Francisco!