Senseless theft

GAWLER RSL has called on vandals who stole the flag, and damaged the flag-pole, at the Gawler South World War One memorial just a week before Remembrance Day to “take a good look at themselves”.

The Australian flag, located behind the Adelaide Road memorial dedicated to locals who died fighting in World War One, was noticed stolen, overnight, on Sunday morning, with the flagpole also damaged.

Gawler RSL president Paul Little said the incident was the latest in a series of local vandalism attacks, with the branch’s flag-pole having been targeted by vandals three times in the past fortnight, and the Freeling war memorial having been tagged by graffiti recently.

Saturday night’s theft occurred on the same day 46 headstones were discovered damaged in a cemetery in Auburn, in the state’s Mid North – including one commemorating a fallen World War One soldier – however, it hasn’t been suggested that they’re related.

Mr Little said it seems strange that the incidents have occurred so close to Remembrance Day, which is being observed on Saturday.

“We don’t know (what’s causing this),” Mr Little said.

“If there’s any significance to it, I don’t know.

“It’s a heritage spot, it should never be touched.

“It’s, technically, like a grave for the 20 or so who died in the First World War, who are buried overseas, so that’s the only monument they’ve got.”

Mr Little said Gawler Council is working to replace the flag, and he hoped it could be complete by Saturday.

“We don’t know who it is (that stole the flag), but they should take a good look at themselves,” he said.

“They can do things because people gave their lives for the freedom of their country, and they choose to do things like that.

“It’s crazy.”

Gawler police Sergeant Lou Costello said behaviour like this was simply unacceptable and, if police find any evidence people are vandalising property, they will take whatever action is necessary.

“I don’t know why any member of the community would be targeting that sort of thing,” he said.

“We should be showing respect and giving thanks to the men and women of the defence force.”


Matteo Gagliardi joined The Bunyip in August 2016 with almost two years experience in regional print media, having previously worked at a community newspaper in Swan Hill, Victoria. Covering politics, local government and crime, Matteo likes to sink his teeth into hard-hitting issues, but also enjoys spending time getting to know the Gawler community. Matteo also has a passion for science, agriculture and the environment, and has previously worked as a media officer at the Australian Science Media Centre.

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