WHY BOTHER?

Iluka His­tory Group shocked by van­dal­ism

The Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - Adam Hourigan

THE ship­wreck of the HMAS Wa­ree has been stuck off the Iluka coast for 71 years, but a plaque to com­mem­o­rate it has only lasted a mat­ter of weeks, thanks to an act of van­dal­ism last week.

And for Iluka Mu­seum co-or­di­na­tor Janet Hauser, it’s hard to put into words how she felt on dis­cov­er­ing the miss­ing plaque.

“Speech­less. I just can’t be­lieve some­one would do this,” she said.

“When it’s a war me­mo­rial thing, it’s just not right.”

Ms Hauser was alerted to the van­dal­ism by a neigh­bour and said they be­lieve the plaque has gone miss­ing some­time be­tween Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day af­ter­noon, most prob­a­bly at night due to the sheer ef­fort re­quired to re­move the plaque.

“The pole is con­creted into the break­wall, so they’ll never get it out of there,” she said.

“But it’s held on by riv­ets through stain­less steel and go­rilla glue, and they’ve busted the riv­ets right out.”

The theft is a bit­ter pill to swal­low af­ter over 18 months of work by the Iluka His­tory Group to have the wreck of the Wa­ree com­mem­o­rated by the plaque.

“We’d done all the re­search be­fore we ap­plied for the Fed­eral grant through Veter­ans Af­fairs at least a year ago, and also sought help from the Naval His­tory As­so­ci­a­tion prior to that,” she said.

“And we found out we’d re­ceived the grant at Christ­mas time so then we had to have the plaque made.

“The com­mu­nity goes to con­sid­er­able ef­fort to do some­thing to share Iluka’s his­tory, and I’m just dis­gusted and dis­ap­pointed some­one could do some­thing like this.”

The group has been in con­tact with po­lice, and said they were go­ing to con­tact Fed­eral Mem­ber for Page Kevin Ho­gan’s of­fice to try to come up with a plan for a new one.

PHOTO: ADAM HOURIGAN

SPEECH­LESS: Iluka Mu­seum’s Janet Hauser with Iluka His­tory Group mem­ber Chris Richards.

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