Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Moving Melbourne

It was just before 9pm Tuesday night. I was tucked up under the doona, meds taken, fur-babies snoozing by my side and watching the 20th anniversary Foreign Correspondent program. Husband in family room, son in bedroom. Daughters in respective overseas locations.

Then the Earth moved.

And kept moving! We get the occasional earth tremor, a novelty as we don't get "real" earthquakes in Australia - well, once in Newcastle years ago, but apart from that, just baby tremors. The ones we get here are usually centred down in Gippsland and we get an odd rumble. We have had a handful over the past couple of years and once, the glass storage jars in my scraproom rattled, which was very exciting.

But last night, it went for so long - technically 40 seconds, but everyone agrees it felt much longer. There was rattling and groaning and rumbling. I do what I do in this situation - stay seated with my jaw dropped and yell out to whoever is home "Did you feel that?" Except the one time when I was at work alone, then I just said the same thing on Facebook ;)

And that's obviously where I turned last night, after my husband admitting it had scared the sh8t out of him and son came tumbling out of his room (where I suspect he had been asleep - not an early night, rather the opposite in his universe!), I opened my tablet - and in that short time, my news feed was FILLED with variations on "Did you feel that?"

What blew me away though - apart from just how close we all are to our devices at such times - was the fact people were reporting it from areas well away from us on the Mornington Peninsula. Like the outskirts on the north-west of Melbourne. And Shepparton. Albury - over the border in NSW. And Canberra???

This wasn't our usual tremor. And while we were updating statuses madly, we were also Googling and sharing at a rate of knots. It was a 5.4 earthQUAKE, centred down in Gippsland beneath infamous Moe and felt (as we already knew) in all the places listed above and more. It took the news sites AGES to catch up with my news feed - on a day when we were all coming to terms with huge cut-backs in the daily news print media.

And before you could even draw breath, the memes began to roll through our news feeds:

I personally think the Earth shifted on its axis because Melissa had arrived in London only a few hours earlier!

Oh, and that stuff about animals knowing when a quake is about to happen? I think they need to be awake - which Frodo was as soon as it happened, staring into space wondering what the hell THAT was. But Molly continued to snore through the whole event and after. Another career ruled out for her.

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