A Tribute to the Newcastle EarthQuake

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The Newcastle earthquake which occurred on Thursday the 28th of December, in 1989, was the result of a shock that measured 5.6 on the Richter scale. It is considered by many to be among the country's worst natural disasters. Remarkably, though the effects of the earthquake were felt by people living within a 200000 square km radius, it claimed the lives of only 13 people.

The location of the largest number of deaths was the Newcastle Workers Club where the floor fell through and collapsed on 9 people who were trapped beneath the rubble. Many more were rescued from that Rubble and another three people were crushed under structures in Beaumont Street in Hamilton.

160 people were injured and the cost was around 4 billion dollars in damaged infrastructure. This is not to mention the cost incurred by the more than 300000 people who were affected, the 300 buildings that were demolished, the more than 100 homes that were ruined and the more than 1000 people who are made homeless.

Much of the repair work included ground engineering and stabilization and a complete overhaul of Newcastle Foreshore, Hunter Street and Beaumont Street.

A place that had been enjoyed by locals so many, many years was destroyed as poor physical Building Structures could not withstand the tremors. Approximately 50000 buildings for damaged and the resulting restoration one of the most costly in Australia's history.

So much of the structures would never be restored. Questions followed soon after about the reliability of the structures that had been there for so long in Australia industrial capital.

Age and deterioration clearly played a part in the amount of damage inflicted by what is really only a moderate earthquake. This has also lead to a number of improvements in safety standards and safety awareness among business and industry.

Standards in industrial buildings and industrial sheds have improved dramatically and are today I'm on the highest quality structures in the world.

While the event is tragic it is also a testimony to the Australian way of life.

That ability to Rise Up to Meet the challenge and to muscle out and enjoy the circumstances that are thrown at us.

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Franchesca Del Hoya