“Heartbroken”: Memorial plaque stolen by vandals

Graham Larkham, Federal Lindsay MP Melissa McIntosh, Vice President Roy Young and President Harry Young observe the sandstone.
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A public appeal is underway after a memorial plaque was stolen from its sandstone base in Victoria Park at St Marys last week.

Members of the St Marys National Servicemen’s Association (NASHOS) were joined by Federal Member for Lindsay Melissa McIntosh at the site of the missing bronze memorial plaque to appeal for information about where it could be and who took it.

The plaque was placed in a dedication ceremony in 2006, after the St Marys NASHOS had applied and were successfully granted Federal funding for the memorial and its installation.

Penrith City Council undertook restoration care in 2020 where the space was improved to include a memorial garden with rosemary bushes and a seat for those visiting the memorial.

McIntosh expressed her sadness at the act of vandalism, calling it “disgraceful”.

“The NASHOS have given so much to our country, and are feeling absolutely heartbroken by this disgraceful act,” she said.

“Memorials provide a place for people to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.

“They should be respected, not heartlessly destroyed.”

St Marys NASHOS President Harry May said both he and the organisation were devastated by the vandalism.

“Just as we were in the process of organising this year’s service, we got a call from Penrith City Council informing us of this devastating news that the plaque had been stolen,” he said.

“It’s very sad. I imagine whoever took it probably smashed it all up and it’s gone to the local scrap metal dealer, just for the value of the metal it is made of.”

The memorial plaque has been sitting in Victoria Park for 18 years and the NASHOS have held a service there every year.

“It’s just a shame for our local National Servicemen, if there was nothing here for our upcoming service, it would be devastating,” May said.

“The Memorial has been here 18 years, and we’ve had a service every year since.”

McIntosh has assured the incident has been referred to the police.

“This act of vandalism has been reported to police. Thankfully, the dedicated NASHOS are working hard with Penrith City Council to get the replica memorial plaque installed before the next ANZAC Day service,” she said.

The plaque is a memorial for service to the nation and remembers those who fought in previous conflicts.

Council is now assisting the NASHOS to restore the memorial plaque.

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