Saturday, June 9

The Earth Moved

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!


  1. Oh wow, Penny, that must have been so scary. I remember that earthquake because I was in year 12 and one of my friends had family in Newcastle and everyone was really worried about them. I didn't realise Gunnedah had an earthquake! My in-laws live in Tamworth.

    Stay safe and earthquake-free and happy weekend x

  2. PS I tried replying to your comment over on my blog but it got returned. Not sure what's going on there??

  3. I LOVE how you've got your sketch of your DD on your header! And I heard there were some minor after shocks on the news this am. And you'd be glad you're not in Christchurch where all my hubby's family are. They're still living with it....:):):):)

  4. Oh Pennylope, how frightening! I heard that a quake hit Armidale and Tamworth, but not your place too! And already having lived through a nasty quake I can understand you being so freaked out.

    Love n hugs to you.


  5. Oh darling, your post made me cry. I will never forget that awful day either and our panic to get to you. There were no petrol pumps operating because the earthquake had knocked out the power so we went around all our vehicles with a siphon to find enough fuel for Tim's car for our rescue mission. Poor Newcastle was a mess. Horrible.

  6. On a brighter note, I love the new header. Your sketch of Bessie is brilliant. xx

  7. Pen
    Love the new header. Just wanted to say thank god for Angels. They are certainly looking after you this month. Stay safe.


Thanks for leaving some love! Penny x


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