THE NEWCASTLE EARTHQUAKE

On December 28, 1989, a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck Newcastle, causing extensive damage and killing 13 people. This earthquake proved that even Australia is not immune from damaging earthquakes causing significant human and economic loss.

Most of the damage occured to unreinforced masonry buildings which had been built between 1900 and 1950. Over 3000 residences were damaged throughout the city. Until recently Newcastle was a steel manufacturing city, (BHP Steel closed late 1999) but at the time of the earthquake the steel mills were not severly damaged and gas and electricity sub stations did not incur major damage.

Generally speaking, most modern structures were generally not damaged; the exception was the Newcastle Workers Club, where a section built in 1972 collapsed, killing 10 people. The club was built in two main parts; an older unreinforced masonry section and a newer concrete frame section four stories high with underground parking. The collapse of the Newcastle Workers Club began at the top of the club causing the building to cascade into itself trapping patrons and workers within the building.

The photographs below are of the rescue operation in the proceeding hours just after the earthquake and the resulting demolition of the Newcastle Workers Club. The photographs are from the Earth Exchange and were salvaged at the time of the simulator being removed from the museum.

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Newcastle Earthquake Database (External Link)
Newcastle Earthquake 10th Anniversary (External Link)
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