Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Seymour community devastated by heartless vandalism

The Mitchell Vietnam Veterans Association Mitchell sub-branch has been left reeling after vandals attack the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk for a second time.

JENNA BISHOP December 18, 2013 10:25am

Broken spotted gums near the Long Tan Cross.


Thoughtless vandals have once again targeted the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk, leaving the community devastated by the contempt shown for one of the region’s premier tourist attractions.

Seymour Police believe at least 225 of the spotted gum trees have now been severely damaged or destroyed, with 170 believed to be damaged overnight on December 12.

Several patches of trees along the walk have now almost entirely been destroyed, with vandals also targeting trees surrounding the Long Tan Cross.

Last week, the Telegraph reported more than 50 trees had been torn down after a vandalism spree overnight Sunday, December 8.

The estimated damage bill has now risen to more than $50000, with each tree valued at more than $100, excluding the cost of removing and replacing the damaged trees.

Vietnam Veterans Association Mitchell sub-branch secretary Ross Gregson said it was frustrating to see the iconic walk targeted twice in one week.

‘‘It’s left many people very angry,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s no rhyme or reason as to why it’s happened.’’

The main priority now for the Vietnam Veterans Association Mitchell sub-branch members will be finding funding to install secure CCTV cameras in the area.

Mr Gregson said the association had obtained funding for the cameras, but the funding was withdrawn after the change in government.

‘‘We’ll be working with the Mitchell Shire to try and get more funding,’’ he said.

Seymour Police believe the offender(s) would have been at the site for a considerable amount of time at each incident and it would have required a large amount of force to damage the trees.

Seymour Police Sergeant Scott Mills said the vandalism was a total disregard for history and a lack of respect for all those people involved in the conflict.

‘‘This Walk commemorates those who have served our country and to see the damage that has been caused to it is simply unacceptable,’’ Sgt Mills said.

‘‘We’re encouraging anyone who saw anyone wandering around on Thursday night to contact police.’’

The spotted gums were closest to the type of rubber trees of the Vietnam jungle which could grow successfully in Seymour’s climate.

More than 700 were planted a year ago as the digiglass wall was being finished.

The plants will have to be replaced when more can be sourced — the Walk committee were still waiting on trees to finish planting at one end of the walk.

Anyone with information on either incident should call Crimestoppers on 1800333000 or Seymour Police on 57350200.

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