EARTHQUAKES and YORK’S HERITAGE BUILDINGS

Published: Monday, 28 October 2019 at 9:47:48 AM

EARTHQUAKES and YORK’S HERITAGE BUILDINGS

They don’t mix well! - Join the Heritage Council, earthquake researchers and Shire of York at York Town Hall, 2pm on Thursday 14 November for a public community information session to find out what can help to protect our treasured streetscapes.

“At 10.59am on 14 October 1968 an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale and with a moment magnitude of 6.5, changed the shape of the Meckering community forever. Although not the strongest earthquake in Australian history, it remains one of the most significant in terms of the damage to property and subsequent cultural upheaval…..The town of Meckering is a shadow of its former self… “  says the website www.meckering50yrson.com.au

On that fateful day, York lost the Royal Hotel, damaged beyond repair and still a blank space on Avon Terrace. Numerous verandahs were destroyed, including those of the Imperial, which had to wait twenty years before replicas were made.

The earthquake was even felt in Perth. 

The Wheatbelt region east of Perth is a seismic ‘hotspot.’ The South West Seismic Zone, which includes the Wheatbelt Region, has the highest seismic hazard in Australia. Earthquake was identified in the 2018 National Seismic Hazard Assessment as having the highest risk in terms of consequences for the Wheatbelt District with the impact on heritage buildings identified as catastrophic. Nowhere would this effect be felt more than in York, where the ‘time-capsule’ appearance of the main street is the main tourism drawcard.

For this reason, researchers from GeoScience Australia and the University of Adelaide selected York to undertake a Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC (BNHCRC) earthquake mitigation study on six York building types last year. Thanks to a National Disaster Resilience Program grant recently awarded to the Shire of York, over the next three years there will be opportunities for this research to be taken further and put into practice through practical implementation on York heritage buildings.

Come along to find out more on 14 November; there will be a panel discussion and opportunity to ask questions about this exciting project, this first of its kind in Australia.

The NDRP grant is administered by DFES and the project acknowledges the funding contribution of the Commonwealth Government of Australia and support from the WA State Emergency Management Committee.

Enquiries to Carol Littlefair, Arts and Cultural Heritage Officer, Shire of York. Tel: 9641 0520 e: carol.littlefair@york.wa.gov.au

Image caption: The Imperial Hotel after the Meckering earthquake, 1968

photo credit:  Courtesy York Residency Museum

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