The earthquake personally defined me and my career.
I was at home listening to music. I thought a car had hit my house for a second but as the vibration continued, I knew it was an earthquake.
I was given two Army engineers to work with.
We came up with a grading system and began driving around with a 2-way radio assessing building damage.
We were at Donald’s Chemist on the corner of Tudor and Beaumont.
The police on guard and the owners believed that the building was swaying and didn’t want to let us in. I was pretty scared but went in because I had a job to do.
We found a ladder and climbed up into the roof cavity, crawling forward to see if the façade had come away. I was so relieved to see it was sound.
The conflict between those who wanted to demolish, the desire to protect heritage and beliefs about the role that council would or should play made it an emotional time.
I was mobbed when I turned up to building assessments.
It changed building techniques so repaired buildings and new buildings are stronger and more durable.
Australian building standards in 1989 classified Newcastle as zone zero which meant no earthquake activity.
We have now been reclassified to be close to the highest rating.
Then 29 year old Building Surveyor, Charlestown