1942 earthquake: news report

Cairns Post, 1 July 1942





Explosions rocked Masterton, the centre of the devastating earth quake, to-day, when an army of engineers set about blowing up dangerously-poised St. Matthew's Church. The first blast blew out portions of the front and east end, but failed to bring the whole edifice down. The second and third were heavier charges, and did the job most effectively.

Flying bricks, however, smashed windows in buildings many yards away, and explosions rocked buildings within a radius of half a mile. During the laying of the second charge a heavy earthquake shock caused squads of volunteers working inside the church to rush outside, but they returned as the quake ceased.

Demolition of the condemned buildings in the earthquake area will take many months. Business premises at first considered safe will have to come down. Many big residences in several townships will have to be rebuilt. Demolition is proceeding day and night in the shopping area at Masterton, and military pickets continue to keep watch over the dangerous area. Temporary business premises have been opened.

Fortunately the hospitals throughout the district suffered little damage. The only casualty reported occurred at Wellington, where the body of a retired chemist was found in the upstairs portíon of a garage several hours after the major quake shock had fractured thegaspipe. He had been overcome by the fumes.

Thousands of householders are heavy losers and broken crockery will be difficult to replace.

Fishermen report that during the earthquake hundreds of thousands of fish left the feeding grounds on the sea-bed and came to the surface, where they thrashed wildly about for hours.

As a result of the earthquake several fairly large islands have appeared in Lake Wairarapa, one of a chain of lakes about 30 miles from Masterton and running down to the coast.


N.Z. EARTHQUAKE. (1942, July 1). Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article42350402