Sunday, 14 August 2022

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The Victoria State Emergency Service is the Control Agency for tsunami in Victoria.

Tsunami are a series of waves generated by any of the following:

  • Vertical movement of the sea floor as the result of a large earthquake
  • Submarine or coastal volcanic eruptions
  • Meteor impacts
  • Coastal landslides and slumps, either land-based or submarine

The coast of Victoria has been affected by tsunami before. The largest tsunami to affect Victoria in recent times occurred in May 1960 after a 9.5 magnitude earthquake in Chile.

The following quote provides some indication of the effects of the tsunami on the Victorian coastline.

“Salmon spotting pilot Dick Ritchie yesterday saw Three Mile Beach, Wilson’s Promontory “disappear” while he was flying over it. ‘I usually land on this beach – but it seemed to be under several feet of water’ he said. ‘ But inside a minute and a half while I flew over it, the water rushed 200 yards out. I first noticed it at 11am. The whole coastal area was disturbed for most of the day. I saw a lagoon nearly a mile by half a mile wide near Port Albany empty one minute, completely full the next, then empty again. Swirling sand and weeds were everywhere. I thought I was seeing things’

The Lakes Entrance Harbour Master said the freak tides had turned the lakes northern arm into a “vacuum”. He said the Lakes Entrance old timers described it as the fastest moving tide in memory. ‘Water came rushing in at a terrific rate – then bored out just as fast’ he said. ‘It gouged three feet of sand away from the pier piles. Marine growth on the bottom was ripped out, and travelled along at three or four miles an hour.’”

Sydney Morning Herald May 1960

Tsunami Warnings

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre provides a tsunami warning service for Australia. The Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia operate the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre

For the latest tsunami warnings call 1300TSUNAMI (1300 878 6264) or visit the Bureau’s website

Marine and immediate foreshore threat

Depending on the level of threat determined by the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre the Bureau of Meteorology may issue a tsunami warning (via the radio, television, 1300TSUNAMI, or the Bureau’s website restricted to the marine environment and immediate foreshore area for parts of the Victorian coastline. You will be advised to:

  • Get out of the water and move away from the immediate waters’s edge of harbours, coastal estuaries, rock platforms and beaches.
  • Return any boats in harbours, estuaries and in shallow coastal water to shore, then secure your boat and move away from the waterfront.
  • Move vessels already at sea to deep water well offshore and remain there until further advised.
  • Don’t go to the coast or headlands to watch the tsunami.
  • Listen to the media for further information and follow the advice of emergency services.
  • Check that your neighbours have received this advice.

Land inundation threat

If there is a possibility of more serious inundation of coastal land, the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre may extend the tsunami warning for the marine environment and immediate foreshore to a tsunami warning for more extensive land inundation. Advice on the appropriate response is determined in consultation with VICSES. If necessary the evacuation of low-lying coastal areas may be required. You will be advised to:

  • Take only essential items that you can carry including important papers, family photographs and medical needs.
  • Go to higher ground or inland. Move away from all beaches and the water’s edge of harbours and coastal estuaries.
  • Walk to safety if possible to avoid traffic jams.
  • Take shelter in the upper storey of a sturdy brick or concrete multi-storey building if you cannot leave the area.

It is important that you follow advice contained in warnings

Prepare Now

You can prepare for tsunami:

  • If you live or regularly visit the coast, get to know the tsunami history and the flood prone areas of your community.
  • Know the nearest high ground and the safest routes to it.
  • Keep our family emergency kit up to date and know where it is.
  • Heed natural warnings – earthquakes, rumbling or sudden changes in the behaviour of coastal seas can all be signs of an approaching tsunami.

Tsunami Assistance

  • For tsunami assistance call VICSES on 132 500
  • For life threatening emergencies, call 000

Further Information


extract from website


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