Victoria earthquake live updates: Melbourne buildings damaged as residents told to expect more aftershocks

The earthquake that was

‘If this was a non-lockdown, someone would have been underneath that’

The Melbourne building which has featured on all the footage of earthquake damage this morning is Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co, an American-style take-away on Chapel Street.

Tim Mcdonagh, the managing director of Betty’s Burgers, said seeing the damage was surreal, a “catastrophe” in already difficult circumstances.

I spoke to him outside the building.

Mcdonagh said that fortunately no staff members were on site at the time of the building damage, and the resident of an apartment above the restaurant was able to safely evacuate.

No one got hurt, so that’s the main thing. Our team is safe, our guests are safe.

He pointed at the debris on the pavement, and said:

If this was a non-lockdown period, someone would have been underneath that.

Mcdonagh had been in Elsternwick at the time of the earthquake, about to open a new Betty’s Burgers branch there. The Chapel Street building has major damage to the roof and side wall, and Mcdonagh said he has been told the repairs may take three to four months.

It’s hard enough to just make ends meet through this period of time without major catastrophes like this.

A large portion of our team are young team members desperate to come back to work. We’re so excited with dining rooms planned to reopen, and now 40 to 50 young team members won’t be able to return to work at this restaurant.

The Windsor establishment was the company’s number one branch for takeaway and delivery in the country, Mcdonagh said.

Because we’re in lockdown, we’re so reliant on it, so the last restaurant that we needed to down was this one.

Donna Lu

Another angle of Betty’s Burgers – crew working on fallen power lines on Green St #earthquake @GuardianAus

September 22, 2021

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Dr Adrian McCullum, a senior lecturer in geotechnical engineering at the University of the Sunshine Coast, said these earthquakes occur because the continental plate on which Australia sits is moving north at about seven centimetres per year.

“This builds up compressive stress within the Australian plate,” he said.

He said this stress is occasionally released – resulting in an earthquake – typically along pre-existing fault lines, where the earth has sheared (and can shear again) because of these stresses.

Inspection of the geological maps of Victoria shows a large number of faults in the Mansfield region in Victoria.

“Thus it appears like an area where the release of compressive stress via an earthquake might be probable,” McCullum said.




Back in Melbourne, Mia Mannik and Tia Gardiner live in an apartment in Windsor, near the damaged building on Chapel Street. They said they were “freaked out” by the tremors.

I thought initially it was like wind blowing, but our whole building was shaking, the walls were shaking. We went outside after it happened and the pavement outside was cracked.

Earthquake reports from north-east Victoria: ‘It felt like a truck hit the building’

Jamie Kronborg, who works for state MP Tania Maxwell as a media spokesperson, was sitting in their first floor office in Faithfull Street Wangaratta.

It was like heavily laden truck. It almost felt like a truck hit the building. We are in this squat flat building with a ground floor plus one on top. It moved, no question, quite briefly and then went again. Someone in the front section of the office yelled ‘let’s get out’ so we did.

Then everyone was out the front of their buildings because Faithfull Street is the main street.

Jamie’s partner Peter Kenyon was in the butcher shop at Beechworth and the power went off in that town. A couple of shelves in the butchery rattled to the floor.

Robert Reeves and his partner Kaye Dyson live in the village of Merrijig, about 15 minutes away from Mansfield.

He said when the first quake struck at 9.15am, the building went into a “really intense rattle”.

It was followed by a second more mild quake about 15 minutes later.



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