Damage to dozens of graves at Auburn cemetery as the result of a malicious and senseless attack has been estimated at up to $300,000 by police – but Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council Mayor Allan Aughey believes it will be much higher.
On Saturday, November 4, locals discovered damage to 46 graves at the cemetery on Moores Road and reported it to local police immediately.
The attacks are believed to have occurred in recent days.
The vandals pushed over and smashed headstones and memorials, to the devastation of families and the community, in what Mr Aughey described as an “appalling act of barbarity”.
He and council staff visited the scene this afternoon and said they could not believe the extent of the devastation.
“I have never seen devastation of this type,” Mr Aughey said.
“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.”
Mr Aughey said council had no protocol in place to deal with such extensive pointless damage and would work its way through how best to support the community.
“This is not a region which suffers much vandalism or wanton destruction,” he said.
“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.”
Clare Police are asking anyone with information on the damage to please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.