Moe Hotel chef David Warner, 22, was cleaning the kitchen when the quake struck. "I just heard this big bang and I thought it was a crane falling on the roof," he said.
"Honestly I feared for my life for a second there, I thought the roof was collapsing. I just bolted for the door because I thought that was the end," Mr Warner said. "About half the venue ran out the front in a bit of a panic."
Elwood resident Andrew Chapman, who was in Christchurch for the devastating September 2010 earthquake, told The Age he felt two significant waves of shaking lasting up to a minute. "Our house was seriously swaying as we bolted outside," he said.
Goods fell from the shelves at Coles supermarket in Warragul, south-east of Melbourne, as the quake hit.
Goods fell from the shelves at Coles supermarket in Warragul, south-east of Melbourne, as the quake hit. Photo: Nathan Dent
"It was very unexpected . . . we left Christchurch because we didn't want to be in an earthquake zone and Melbourne was a safe place to go to," he said.
"We're feeling very unnevered because I suppose it's reignited all those anxieties and feelings from when we lived in Christchurch."
Anthony Atkin, the duty manager of the Criterion Hotel at Trafalgar, just west of Moe, said he feared for his life when the quake hit.
"I thought the roof was going to fall down," Mr Atkin said.
"Everyone in the hotel ran outside, it was like a train was coming through the hotel.
"I've been here for 44 years and never felt anything like it."
The federal minister responsible for insurance, Bill Shorten, last night urged people to make safety their first priority after the quake. “This is the biggest earthquake to hit Victoria for over 109 years,"