Golden Eagle Hotel damage.
Earthquake strikes Goldfields

Reports of significant damage are emerging from the Goldfields this morning after the biggest earthquake in 50 years struck the region.

The 5.0 magnitude quake struck south-west of Kalgoorlie at 8.17am.

Residents in Kalgoorlie, Boulder and Coolgardie reported a "sizeable tremor" lasting between five and 10 seconds.

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Geoscience Australia spokesman Chris Thompson said it was largest shallow area earthquake for Australia.

“It’s certainly the largest event in 50 years for the area,” he said.

Mr Thompson said there had since been 13 recorded aftershocks, but all were very small with the biggest being a magnitude 2.3.

Two people have been taken to hospital by ambulance with minor injuries, according to St John Ambulance.

One of the people had been injured while at a doctor’s surgery in Kalgoorlie, while the other had been injured at a nearby physiotherapy clinic.

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FESA reports quake damaged is mainly confined to the Boulder area with five or six older hotels on Burt Street hit.

Burt and Lane Streets in Boulder have been closed and people are asked to avoid the area.

The underpass near the intersection of Goldfields Highway and Burt Street is understood to have collapsed.

It is understood the Golden Eagle Hotel in Boulder has been badly damaged. Firefighters were called to the historic Lionel Street pub at 8.19am because of extensive roof and wall damage.

Other buildings understood to have been damaged include Sheffield's Pub, Boulder Town Hall, Metropole Hotel and the Rock Inn Hotel.

A gas leak has forced the evacuation for the Kalgoorlie Hospital.

Kalgoorlie School of the Air has been closed after suffering significant structural damage.

Students at Boulder Central School have been evacuated and emergency services are diverting traffic. A ceiling collapsed at Boulder Primary School and children have been moved to a newer part of the school. O’Connor Primary School’s administration block has been evacuated and the junior block at Kalgoorlie Primary School has been closed. Cracks have appeared in the walls of North Kalgoorlie Primary School. Structural engineers will assess that and other schools in the quake area today to determine if more need to be closed.

Workers have been pulled out of the Super Pit's open pit and underground mine and several other mines in the area have been shut down.

Callers to ABC radio, some 50km from Kalgoorlie, said the tremor lasted for several seconds and that there have been aftershocks.

One resident said it was the tremor was the worst they had felt in 30 years.

One hotelier told 6PR Radio of pulling one of his female workers out of rubble but she was not seriously injured.

FESA warns people in the area should prepare for aftershocks and be careful of falling debris.

Residents in damaged buildings should turn off electricity, gas and water.

People needing help can call the SES on 132 500 or 000 for life-threatening emergencies. Call Western Power on 13 13 51 to report downed power lines.

The last significant earthquake to hit Boulder was a 4.5 magnitude tremor in 1987.

WA's worst quake hit the Wheatbelt town of Meckering in 1968. The 6.9 magnitude earthquake wiped the town off the map - the damage to the tiny town was so severe Meckering was moved and rebuilt 400m away.

The Golden Eagle Hotel in Boulder was badly damaged. Picture: Travis Anderson

The West Australian

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