Wangaratta Chronicle - - News - By JACQUIE SCHWIND

Mon­day, Jan­uary 12, 2009

LOCAL Viet­nam veter­ans were dis­gusted on Fri­day to learn the rock they had erected in memo­riam “to those who served, suf­fered and died for their coun­try” had been dis­hon­oured by van­dals.

Blue paint was used to write an ob­scen­ity on one side of the rock, which is sit­u­ated on Wan­garatta-Whit­field Road’s memo­rial avenue.

Let­ters, which could be graf­fiti tags, were em­bla­zoned on the front and the op­po­site side of the rock.

The van­dal­ism de­faced a rock of lov­ing tribute plaques from fam­ily to veter­ans, in­clud­ing three men killed in ac­tion in the Viet­nam War.

Also hon­oured on the rock are World War II soldiers such as J A Beg­none, who died as a pris­oner-of-war in 1945 and is re­mem­bered as “Not at home but for­ever in our hearts”.

The memo­rial avenue and rock was a con­tri­bu­tion by the then Wan­garatta Viet­nam Veter­ans group (Wan­garatta area is now cov­ered by the Mur­ray and Bor­der Viet­nam Veter­ans group) to the city of Wan­garatta.

It marked the Aus­tralia Re­mem­bers com­mem­o­ra­tion of 50 years since the end of World War II in 1995 and the memo­rial rock was placed in po­si­tion in 1996.

Viet­nam vet­eran, Ken Mars­den, was up­set at the news of the van­dal­ism.

“It’s just bloody scat­ter­brains,”Mr Mars­den said. “They have no re­spect. “It’s very up­set­ting.” Mr Mars­den said es­tab­lish­ment of the memo­rial avenue and rock area had taken time in or­gan­i­sa­tion and ef­fort. “It took a lot of work. “Viet­nam veter­ans dug all the holes and planted all the trees.

“The rock came from the Glen­rowan quarry.

“The area had to be hand wa­tered for a num­ber of years and, in later years, we got the as­sis­tance of coun­cil.

“I go past it and it is just good to see, par­tic­u­larly the trees, which are start­ing to blos­som and fill out.”

Mur­ray and Bor­der Viet­nam Veter­ans com­mit­tee man and Wan­garatta RSL pen­sions and wel­fare of­fi­cer, Peter Card­well, was just as un­happy the rock had been tar­geted by van­dals.

“I’m ab­so­lutely dis­gusted,” Mr Card­well said.

“I thought we were over that sort of garbage.”

Mr Card­well said the graf­fiti had not been done prior to 5.30pm on Thurs­day.

“My brother-in-law was up from Mel­bourne and I had to go out to Ox­ley.

“I pointed the memo­rial out to him and ex­plained a bit of its his­tory.”

Mr Card­well as­sessed the da­m­age on Fri­day morn­ing.

“I’ll talk to coun­cil but I’m pretty sure we’ve got to have it pro­fes­sion­ally cleaned.

“I’ve spo­ken to po­lice and they’ll pho­to­graph it and hope­fully iden­tify the tag.”

DIS­RE­SPECT: Ken Mars­den and Peter Card­well in­spect sense­less graf­fiti painted on a war memo­rial.

GOOD TIMES: Soak­ing up the at­mos­phere at the El­do­rado pop up cin­ema on Thurs­day night were (from left) Imo­gen Forge, Lani Har­ris, Amelia Har­ris and Ella Webb. They en­joyed the movie Coco while sit­ting un­der the stars. It was one of the Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta’s free Sum­mer in the Parks events.Com­ing up this week are art gallery ac­tiv­i­ties, li­brary events, and an Out­door Ball. For more in­for­ma­tion go to www.wan­garatta.vic.gov.au.

MO­BILE MOVIES: Albi Mil­some, Ava Mil­some, Daina Winch and Austin Mil­some kick back at the pop up cin­ema. .

HANG­ING OUT: Pax­ton Knee­bone (left), Billy Har­wood, Leo Har­wood, Har­ri­son Kelly, and Adele Web­ber pre­pare for the movie.

HUGS: Ivy and Holly with mum Chardae Davies at El­do­rado.

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