One of Wagga’s most significant heritage railway sites was devastated by senseless vandalism at the weekend, leaving the town’s train enthusiasts in shock.
Late on Friday night the Rail Heritage building on Railway Street was set upon by vandals, who, upon failing to break into the building, proceeded to pull bricks from the exterior and make holes in the tin roof.
Built in the 1800s, the historic building was used as a rest house for train drivers between shifts and is a new acquisition by Wagga’s Rail Heritage Association.
The building is currently being refurbished to create a learning space for the town’s school children to further educate them about the railway’s historic past.
Rail Heritage Association President Phil Horwell was shocked the vandalism occurred, calling it a senseless act by “hooligans”.
“It’s unbelievable that this has happened,” he said. “You really can’t understand why people would just go around being destructive and damaging the town’s historical sites.”
“They’re just senseless hooligans who don’t have any respect for themselves or for anybody else.”
Upon discovering the vandalism on Saturday morning, Mr Horwell informed police who are investigating the issue further, though he does not hold out much hope the perpetrators will be caught.
“You inform the police because that’s what you do in this kind of situation, but unfortunately we’re not too hopeful the vandals will be caught,” he said.
“The best we can do is hope that we can raise enough money to complete the refurbishment of the building.”
Though the cost of the damage is not yet know, Mr Horwell said it will come at a great cost to the not-for-profit, which predominantly relies on donations to achieve its restoration work.
"We haven't got an exact estimate of the damage, but it's likely going to be a couple of thousand of dollars and as a not-for-profit organisation that's a lot of money we just don't have,” he said.
"we rely on donations coming from the museum at the station and doing our own fundraising initiatives in order to to the work we do, such as restoring old photographs, repairing machinery and caring for heritage items."
Mr Horwell said the new building is an important addition to the association, as well as the town.
"The new building will help get the younger community involved and engaged in the history of the railway and it’s a great tourist attraction for Wagga,” he said. “After this vandalism we're really just in dire straights to get the building repaired.”
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