Locals are disappointed in the vandalism of a historic chimney in the Strathbogie Ranges.By Angela Townsend
The reckless vandalism of a historic site in the hills of Lima has left locals and forestry workers in disbelief.
The little-known Bishop Green site in the Warrenbayne pine plantations off Ethell Rd boasts a huge stone fireplace.
Reached just a short walk from the road, the structure is the clearing’s centrepiece, with an information board and two sequoia pine trees — one giant planted in about 1910.
The damage occurred when a number of people camped in the area during the weekend of December 29 and 30 and lit a bonfire in the chimney.
The lintel — a load-bearing slab of timber fitted some years ago to strengthen the structure — caught fire and partially collapsed.
Lima resident Roger Sievwright said when the site was visited by a Warrenbayne local shortly afterwards, the fire was still burning — despite the campers having left, and a total fire ban in place.
Mr Sievwright said rifles had also been fired from the campsite, with damage to the picnic table.
Broken glass and cans were scattered around the site.
Hancock Victoria Plantations (HVP) district forester David Horsburgh, who has worked in the area for 20 years, said the company was disappointed in the damage.
‘‘It’s disgraceful — we’ve put a lot of time into that site,’’ Mr Horsburgh said.
‘‘When a sequoia was cut down, we planted other ones.’’
He said as a private company, HVP Plantations was a major employer of the area and the careless actions of these people could have impacted on this.
‘‘It’s in the middle of a young plantation that’s going to be the future of the area. A fire could cost millions of dollars,’’ Mr Horsburgh said.
HVP Plantations has not only protected the site during the years, but also provided funding for an information board some years ago, which Mr Horsburgh said was largely driven by another district forester, Jim Walker.
‘‘We’ve tried to involve the community in the Bishop Green Project,’’ he said.
The site is named after Bishop Albert Green who was born in 1857 and ordained a Deacon of the Church of England of Australia.
He married Hilda Tucker in 1880 at St Paul’s Church, Avenel, and was a vicar at Maldon for some time.
He moved around for some years, and was Archdeacon at Ballarat from 1890-1894.
In 1884 he became Bishop of Grafton and Armidale, taking on the Bishop of Ballarat role from 1900 to his retirement in 1917.
Bishop Green died in 1944 at the age of 87.
He built a two-roomed hut on the site.
However, it is now believed that Thomas Price, who rented the property in the early 1900s, built the fireplace and extended the hut.
The massive hearthstone was dug up nearby and dragged into place with horses.
Judging by the size of the fireplace and considering that Thomas and his wife Emily had 10 children, it is believed the extensions must have been substantial.
For 20 years the Price family lived in and around the area following the occupation of a eucalypt distiller.
The Prices were the last people to live at Bishop Green’s.
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