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1942 Earthquake: Terror for Residents

Evening Post, 26 June 1942

For the residents of Masterton the 'quake brought a night of unforgettable terror. The shock plunged the place into darkness, and with chimneys crashing on the roofs and tanks toppling, and the terrible uncertainty of what was going to happen next, many people became panic-stricken. Masterton, or the greater part of it, spent the rest of the midwinter night, out of bed, and mostly out of doors.

At Bush Grove a concrete chimney top which fell through from a metre above the ceiling, "feet first" and carried N.G. Groves' bed through the floor.

The morning brought a picture of broken windows and roofs shorn of their chimneys. Hardly a house escaped. District wardens were quickly on the job, and going from house to house ascertained the extent of individual damage.

Water and drainage services were unaffected, but gas and electricity supplies were shut off and made a miserably cold day more miserable. Electricity was restored in the residential areas before noon, but the damage to the gasworks shut off the supply for the whole day."

Source: Papers Past: Evening Post, 26 June 1942

Further reading: A night of terror - the 1942 earthquake


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1942 Earthquake: Masterton's business area badly wrecked

Evening Post, 26 June 1942


Masterton's main street was a sorry sight yesterday.

With huge piles of brick and masonry sprawling across the footpaths and roadway, shattered shop windows, and trailing high-tension lines, the condition of the mile-long thoroughfare was testimony to the intensity of the previous night's earthquake. In the residential areas householders suffered considerable damage to property, and it appears that Masterton took the main shock. Miraculously no casualties of any sort have been reported.

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