Anger as vandals destroy tribute to fallen soldiers
JOHN Nisbett can't find the words to express his shock and disappointment after a savage attack on a Sunshine Coast cenotaph, just days before the community was to gather to remember the sacrifices of fallen soldiers.
Now hope is fading that repairs on the cenotaph in Beerwah's Turner Park will be complete by the Remembrance Day service on Saturday.
But Mr Nisbett, the Beerwah and District RSL sub-branch president, said the ceremony would go ahead as usual at the site, even if the cenotaph was damaged.
Vandals destroyed the stonework in three places on the cenotaph late last Friday or early Saturday morning.
One of the broken stones had been atop the centre plinth, and was about 8cm thick, 46cm wide and 61cm long.
"We'll have trouble finding a new piece of that," Mr Nisbett said.
"I think they would have needed something very heavy - a large hammer, or a bar - to do all that damage."
He said his initial reaction was shock upon seeing the damage.
"I couldn't believe anybody would be so ridiculous, to go and do something like that," he said.
"These guys gave up their lives so that these people could carry on like this.
"It's the same as going in and bashing something in the church."
Peachester stonemason Wayne Osborne is working to repair the cenotaph.
"He may not be able to get it finished, but the service is going to go on anyhow," Mr Nisbett said.
"They're going to have to put new stonework on the top on both ends, and I don't know how long it's going to take to get another top stone for the plinth."
Mr Nisbett said he was yet to discuss whether the sub-branch would have to fork out for the repairs, or the Queensland branch would help cover the costs.
"We're in the process of selling badges this week to try and raise some money.
"We've got to find out how much it's going to cost first, then we'll cry."
Mr Nisbett said the cenotaph had been vandalised before since it was moved to the park in April last year when the old sub-branch went into receivership.
"It's been knocked about, two or three times before," he said.
"There always seems to be young people in the park there, but I think a lot of the young people are looking after it as well."
Officers from the Beerwah Police Station are investigating.