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Masonic vandalism 'frenzy'

Callous vandals struck Shepparton’s Masonic Centre on Wednesday night for the fourth time since September, causing extensive internal damage before allegedly setting fire to the building.

KAITLIN THALS March 8, 2013 4:40am

Masonic Lodge Mooroopna master Alan McCormick and Freemasons Victoria manager of buildings and projects Dayne Carmichael are disappointed after the fourth vandal attack on the Shepparton lodge since September last year.


Callous vandals struck Shepparton’s Masonic Centre on Wednesday night for the fourth time since September, causing extensive internal damage before allegedly setting fire to the building.

The attack occurred between 5pm and 7pm, which Masonic Lodge Mooroopna master Alan McCormick has described as ‘‘violent anger, like a frenzy’’.

The representative said the words ‘‘f*** you’’ were scrawled on the internal walls of the building.

Mr McCormick said most of the items destroyed held historical value that could not be replaced.

‘‘It’s absolutely shocking, it breaks your heart to see it,’’ he said.

‘‘We arrived at 10 past seven and well you should have seen it. You could smell smoke, it must have been smoldering for a while, they’ve used some sort of accelerant.

‘‘Everything that was there that could be damaged was; old photographs of former members pulled down and smashed and you could see they had trodden on them.’’

Shepparton police Detective Senior Constable Tom Young said this was the fourth incident since September last year.

During the most recent incident a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the front door.

Det Sen Const Young said at this stage police believed the four attacks were linked.

‘‘Unknown offenders have forced their way into the Masonic hall and committed a large amount of vandalism inside the premises, including writing f*** you on the inside of the building,’’ Det Sen Const Young said.

‘‘They’ve also smashed a number of crockery sets and plates and caused a fair bit of damage, smashing lights and other things of sentimental value to the Masonic hall, before setting the place on fire in the main temple itself, which measures about 50cm by 50cm.’’

Det Sen Const Young said police were investigating the incident and a forensic team was on site.

‘‘Inquiries are continuing, it is being managed and we’re doing what we can to try to work out who is responsible for this,’’ he said.

No-one was injured in the blaze.

Mr McKenzie believed this could be a misguided racially-motivated attack.

‘‘We really are a charitable organisation, why are they targeting us?’’ he said.

‘‘It’s the same with any Christian religion, we use the Bible.’’

Masonic Centres house Freemasonary, a fraternal organisation.

Locally, the organisation has provided scholarships to school youths, raised thousands of dollars for bushfire and flood-relief funds and donated almost $200000 to the Goulburn Valley Health oncology unit in Shepparton.

Members of the Shepparton Masonic Centre — more than 100 people from four different groups — will have to relocate to Numurkah Masonic Centre in the interim.

Anyone with information about the fire or who may have witnessed anything suspicious in the area is urged to phone Detective Senior Constable Tom Young on 58205777 or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au

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