Volunteer workers at the Zig Zag Railway have been devastated by a vicious and senseless attack on the train’s historic carriages, wagons and signal box.
Zig Zag board chairman, Lee Wiggins, said he was “absolutely gutted” by the violence, which has caused at least $400,000 damage.
One of the worst things was that he believed it was not a random, opportunistic attack.
“It isn’t just vandalism. It’s a malicious, targeted attack.”
He said the perpetrators must have had a knowledge of railway systems to remove security chocks, let off hand brakes and unbolt infrastructure that changes the tracks.
“We have faced our fair share of challenges and setbacks while rebuilding the railway [after the 2013 bushfires], but this was a personal blow.
“How anyone connected to a railway could cause this type of damage is beyond us.”
The attack happened some time between February 18 and March 4. It wasn’t noticed until then because the site is large and volunteers were not working at the relevant locations.
“Our signal box had been fully restored and was ready for a coat of paint. They’ve smashed the glass and the timber – one window has been totally removed,” Mr Wiggins said.
“I had to tell the guy responsible for all the [restoration] work. He was just devastated. How do I ask him to come back and do it all over again?”
Mr Wiggins said one of the carriages damaged was built in 1882 and was the oldest operational carriage in Australia.
“That carriage survived everything the last 137 years could throw at it, including the two major bushfires, only to be destroyed by a senseless attack.”
He said they used some kind of vehicle to drag a carriage 50 metres up a hill “and let it free-wheel down”.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Former Macquarie MP, Alasdair Webster, has denied allegations he turned a blind eye to assaults and pedophile behaviour in the Daruk Boys Home where he was superintendent in the 1970s and 80s.
Former residents told 60 Minutes Mr Webster either ignored their complaints or punished them.
Mr Webster’s barrister, Manny Conditsis, said he “strenuously denies all allegations”.
“There is much evidence that will unfold, some of which will include statements from at least one of the alleged victims, entirely exculpating him from any wrong-doing. Mr Webster asked for the community to be patient, to wait to hear the evidence and not to pre-judge him.”