Living Legends trees fall victim to vandalism

A CLOSER inspection of Bathurst’s Living Legends trees has revealed that they were likely damaged by vandals, not the wind as first thought.

Six trees near the intersection of Bradwardine Road and Suttor Street were left with snapped branches and splintered trunks, originally believed to have been caused by the strong 30-kilometre per hour winds recorded Friday night and early Saturday morning. 

“Initially the damage appeared to have been caused by wind, however after an assessment was conducted we believe the damage was caused by vandals. Only six trees were damaged and no other trees of similar size within the area were affected,” mayor Graeme Hanger OAM said.

“Council is currently assessing options and will look at providing replacement trees, if required, under the tree planting program.

“Bathurst is fortunate to have a low rate of vandalism and it is disappointing that this act has occurred.”

Cr Hanger encouraged anyone who witnessed suspicious activity to report it to police, whether in relation to this incident or another. 

The damaged trees were located on both sides of Bradwardine Road and were those bearing the names of David Mills, Maurice McNeil, James McLaren, Beryl McLeay, Jonathan Lewis and Maureen Lewis.

They were among the original 200 Living Legends that were announced during the bicentenary celebrations on Proclamation Day in 2015.

A further nine citizens received the honour 12 months later and had their own trees added to the avenue. 

Mr Mills, the president of the Bathurst RSL Sub Branch, said he didn’t take the attack personally, saying it was just “the luck of the draw” as to which trees were damaged in the act of vandalism.

“I just feel sorry that someone felt so aggrieved to do that,” he said.

He hopes council will replace the trees to restore the vista of the area.

The damaged trees were left in place over the weekend before being removed from the ground by council staff on Monday.