Videos and images uploaded on social media showed structural damage to buildings in Melbourne’s inner-city, including on Chapel Street in Prahan and in South Yarra.
There have been no reports of injuries, though damage has been reported across Melbourne.
Betty’s Burgers on Chapel Street suffered damage to its building, but it’s been confirmed no staff were inside at the time.
There was also damage to the brickwork at Coles on Wattle Street in Prahan.
Movement was also felt in Geelong, at Canberra’s Parliament House, Sydney’s CBD, northern Tasmania and parts of South Australia.
More than 46 reports of building damage after Victoria earthquake
Victoria’s Deputy Premier James Merlino said Geoscience “has confirmed that there is a possibility that we may receive further aftershocks” and there was a potential risk of more earthquakes.
“Indeed, more aftershocks could occur for weeks, if not months,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
The mayor of Mansfield, Mark Holcombe, said the quake was unlike anything he’s experienced before in his 20 years living in the town.
“I was sitting down at work at my desk and I needed to run outside. It took me a while to work out what it was,” he told the ABC.
“I have been in earthquakes overseas before and it seemed to go on longer than I have experienced before. The other thing that surprised me was how noisy it was, it was a real rumbling like a truck going past.”
The Bureau of Meteorology says there is no tsunami threat.
Scott Morrison speaks after earthquake in Victoria
Speaking from the United States after being briefed about the earthquake, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the federal government stands by “to provide whatever assistance is needed, whether from the [defence force] or others”.
It’s understood the earthquake is one of the strongest ever to hit Australia.
A magnitude 5.6 earthquake in Newcastle in 1989 left 13 people dead.