NO RESPECT: Vandalism of memorial plaques on the Brunswick Heads breakwall is nothing new, but now six plaques have vanished.
NO RESPECT: Vandalism of memorial plaques on the Brunswick Heads breakwall is nothing new, but now six plaques have vanished. The Northern Star

Vandals steal plaques honouring the dead at Brunswick Heads

RECENT vandalism of memorial plaques on the Brunswick Heads breakwall are the latest in a long history of wanton destruction, residents say.

Up to six memorial plaques honouring the dead had been removed from the breakwall sometime over the last six weeks according to Faye Johnston.

She could only find one still on the breakwall she said.

The plaques were left to honour dead people from the area by friends and family, and they would be very disappointed to see them removed she said.

The Brunswick Heads breakwall. Photo The Northern Star Archives
The Brunswick Heads breakwall. Photo The Northern Star Archives The Northern Star Archives

"One can only presume this to be an act of vandalism. Is there no respect?" she said.

One of the missing plaques honoured local boy Thomas Haughton who drowned swimming near the breakwall in 2007.

His plaque has already been replaced once before, she said.

The people who did this have "no feeling, no compassion and no respect," Ms Johnston said.

Her frustrations were shared by Stuart Coles who grew up and lived at Brunswick Heads for 44 years.

He was part of a local social club that put up a plaque for a member who also drowned near the breakwall, Liz McLeish.

Over the last 10 years the plaque has been ripped off the wall and vandalised on a number of occasions. Each time it went back up it would be wrecked again he said.

"I just gave up," he said.

The plaque is now back at Mr Coles' house, ready to be returned to the women's daughter.

He also knows of memorial plaques for indigenous people laid in a nearby park that have been vandalised and removed as well, he said.

"It's just hoodlums, there is so much vandalism it's just pathetic," Mr Coles said. "There is just too much of it happening in the area".

Ms Johnston thought it would be good if council would consider erecting a permanent structure where the names of those lost at sea could be engraved.


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