• Hannah Phillips

Police Seeking info on Senseless Auburn Cemetery Attack

Almost 50 gravestones and memorials have been destroyed at Auburn Cemetery last week, with Police urging anyone with information to come forward.

While the senseless and malicious damage occurred earlier during the week, the discovery only made on Saturday, November 4.

Clare & Gilbert Valleys Council is coordinating steps to quantify the damage and is endeavouring to make contact with next of kin affected.

Mayor Allan Aughey OAM and Council staff were at the scene and could not believe the extent of the devastation, with headstones and memorials pushed over and smashed in what Mayor Aughey described as an appalling act of barbarity.

Police have estimated the damage bill to be about $200-$300,000, but Mayor Aughey said he believed this would be far higher.

“I have never seen devastation of this type.

“Our community has been through bushfires and floods, but this senseless vandalism has really hit home.

“I am outraged that this could happen and am saddened for the families who are affected by this.”

Mayor Aughey said Council had no protocol in place on how to deal with such extensive pointless damage and would be working its way through how best to support the community.

“This is not a region which suffers much vandalism or wanton destruction.

“We have never had anything like this, and are struggling to come to grips with it in an emotional sense.

“It is a huge job for Council as well, and particularly challenging for our staff who have to deal with much of it.

“We have had preliminary discussions and have outlined action we are able to take. Staff will meet first thing Monday morning and will report to elected members once we have some outcomes.”

Mayor Aughey said the vandalism would also affect the graves of deceased who did not have family members to rectify the damage, and this would particularly apply to historic memorials.

“Which I also find a tragedy,” Mayor Aughey said.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said the State Government would contribute towards repairs for what he has deemed ‘a despicable act’.

“We acknowledge and thank the Premier and Government of South Australia in their desire to provide support and assistance,” Mayor Aughey said.

Police are asking anyone with information on the damage to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Image Source: Clare & Gilbert Valleys Council. Mayor Allan Aughey OAM and Minister for Local Government Geoff Brock MP inspect the damage at the Auburn Cemetery.

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