VANDALS have damaged 70 historic headstones in the Bathurst cemetery, outraging both the police and the community.
The damage was found early yesterday morning by Barry Konemann who, along with members of the Bathurst Family History Group, have spent the last two years restoring headstones in preparation for the city’s bicentenary celebrations.
Mr Konemann described what he found as devastating.
“I went up there this morning and they were all broken – I’d say about 70 of them,” he said.
“The damage they’ve done is mind blowing. It just adds so much more to what we already have to do.”
Mr Konemann said the headstones were fine when he was at the cemetery about 3pm on Friday. But it was a different story when he returned yesterday.
Mr Konemann said the damage was largely in the Catholic and Church of England sections with almost every headstone and monument significantly destroyed.
“And the extent of the damage is also unusual, it’s not in a straight line,” he said.
“They damaged one area and then 100 yards away they damaged something else.”
While nothing is damaged beyond repair, Mr Konemann said it would be an enormous task to fix them all.
Mr Konemann said it appeared most of the monuments had been pushed over rather than hit with an object. “But none of them were lightweight, most were made out of marble or sandstone,” he said.
Chifley local area command duty officer Inspector Glen Cogdell said he was appalled by what had happened.
Inspector Cogdell said it had been a while since there had been any problems at the cemetery but he was disgusted that someone would desecrate a grave.
“We want to hear from people who saw the damage so they can try and narrow it down when it happened,” he said.
“Detectives, forensic services group and the Target Action Group attended the cemetery and conducted a canvass of the area.
“The damage was restricted to the older sections of the cemetery and has occurred between Friday and 9am Wednesday.”
If you have any information related to the vandalism at the cemetery, please contact either Bathurst police on 63328699 or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.