From the Newsroom

Earthquake rumbles across Clarence Valley

Emma Pritchard


Some slept right through it, while others revealed they definitely felt the earth move as an earthquake measuring 3.1 on the richter scale vibrated across the Clarence Valley shortly after 2am on June 8.

While Pillar Valley between Tucabia and Clarenza was the epicentre of the earthquake, residents of coastal communities including Wooli and Minnie Water told the Clarence Valley Independent they felt tremors and shaking during the early hours of the morning.

“I’d never experienced anything like it before,” said Kelly Whitehouse, who has lived in Minnie Water for five years.

“I got up around 2am to let my dog Nova out, and suddenly she came running back inside barking furiously, and that was when I heard what sounded like a street sweeper approaching.

“I was trying to figure out what the noise was.

“It only lasted for a couple of seconds, but it was a loud rumbling which vibrated through the floorboards, and I started thinking ‘is this an earthquake?’

“Thankfully, there was no damage, but I couldn’t go back to sleep for a while until the shock wore off, so I got onto Facebook and looked at a few social pages to see what other people were saying and what they’d experienced too.”

Further down the coastline, long-time Wooli resident and local business owner Matthew Howard said he woke up when he heard a distant rumbling, and felt the vibrations pass through his property.

“All the wildlife outside was freaking out, but no one else in the house heard anything, even the dogs continued sleeping,” he revealed.

“It was a bit of a shock to the system.

“I thought it may have been a tsunami, so I went looking online for tsunami warnings and was pretty relieved when I couldn’t find any, so I figured it must have been an earthquake.”

While he did not incur any damage to his property, Mr Howard said his experience last week was not the first encounter he had had with this type of natural phenomena.

“I was surfing at Turner’s Beach in Yamba back in 1989 when the Newcastle earthquake happened, and all of a sudden there was a flurry of waves,” he recalled.

“I reckon this one was a bit smaller though.”

Geoscience Australia reported the Clarence Valley earthquake occurred at a depth of 10km and happened less than five hours after a 4.3 magnitude earthquake was recorded 125km off the coast of Cairns.

Senior Seismologist with Geoscience Australia Johnathan Bathgate stated in an earlier interview, the area surrounding the Clarence Valley does not have much seismic history, with no earthquakes documented in the region for several years.

Following the earthquake, no reports of injuries or damage to property have emerged.