Thursday 23 March 2023


Campbelltown has had its share of natural disasters over the years, including floods, fire and even a tornado. However, reading about an earthquake was something I wasn't prepared for. Many of you probably remember it.

It was early Saturday morning on 10 March 1973. The peace of that Saturday morning sleep-in for most was suddenly shattered when the ground began to shake. Many were quite alarmed and looked for an explanation of what just happened. Reports of people's experiences were shared around the town, some of which were no doubt a little exaggerated! According to the Campbelltown-Ingleburn News, the army copped much of the blame. As soon as the rumblings began they straight away thought that the army was out on early morning manoeuvres, doing "town laps" in Queen Street. Another explanation favoured by many was that the army was blasting away as usual out at Holsworthy but, just a bit earlier than usual. Another explanation is quite hilarious: one lady attributed the violent shaking to her collie dog scratching for fleas on the front verandah!

Accounts of some of the residents are also very amusing. One young boy shared his story with all seriousness that his sister had been thrown from her bed and landed (without injury) on the other side of the room. There were stories of suitcases falling from the tops of cupboards, smashing glasses and dogs going beserk.

At Campbelltown Police Station a typewriter fell off a desk with a sudden jolt. Many attempted unsuccessfully to contact the station by phone so they arrived at the station seeking reassurance from the police that it wouldn't happen again!

I thought I would check if there was a record of the quake. There is an entry on Wikipedia under the heading 'List of Earthquakes in Australia' with an entry for that day. It registered a 5.6 with most of the damage centering around Picton, Bowral and Wollongong. The damage bill was $2.8 million.

Do you remember the earthquake?

Campbelltown Police Station in December 1979. It was here that many searched for reassurance.

Written by Andrew Allen

No comments:

Post a Comment