Club under attack
‘‘Brazen youths’’ are terrorising the Avondale Jockey Club with repeated acts of vandalism and members have had enough.
Visitors have regularly arrived on the property to discover smashed computer monitors, shattered windows, tagging and glass-etching.
Alcohol and food have also been stolen and members fear the attacks could escalate after one of their own was robbed of his mobile phone on the premises last week.
Club president Allan Boyle says the club – which reopened in 2013 – has been trying to refresh its set-up and re-establish itself as a successful race track.
The organisation suspended racing in 2010 after 120 years because of dwindling crowd numbers and mounting debt worth more than $2 million.
‘‘This vandalism is directed at us specifically and is hurting,’’ Boyle says. ‘‘Through January at times it has looked like a war zone.’’
‘‘It’s quite demoralising. We are a community asset,’’ secretarymanager John Craig says. ‘‘It’s not just the damage, it’s the man hours involved in cleaning it up. But we no sooner clean it up and it’s back again.’’
Club members have seen youths ‘‘loitering’’ around the premises and Boyle says the belief is that many are under the age of 14.
‘‘As a community-based outfit here in Avondale we are asking the locals – including politicians and businesses – for help.
‘‘We have contract security patrols, we use the 111 emergency system and the community policing.
‘‘So far neither our security firm nor the police have been able to close down the attacks.’’
Senseless act: Avondale Jockey Club secretary-manager John Craig stands in front of boarded up windows, a result of repeated vandalism.