HEAVY MEDALS: Lawrence Historical Society president Rae Harrison, front, shows off the medals that were stolen from the museum
HEAVY MEDALS: Lawrence Historical Society president Rae Harrison, front, shows off the medals that were stolen from the museum

Stolen memorabilia dumped by roadside

By ADRIAN MILLER

amiller@dailyexaminer.com.au

ANZAC Day commemorations took on extra meaning for members of the Lawrence Museum & Historical Society on Tuesday after precious war memorabilia stolen last September was returned.

War medals and irreplaceable army pay books dating back to World War I were among the articles returned on Monday.

The items were found by a woman walking her dog in rural Southgate.

The woman gathered up the memorabilia, which were spread over a wide area, before calling the society.

Lawrence Historical Society secretary Vois Bancroft said the members were both amazed, and relieved, to have the memorabilia back in their possession.

"Everybody is so thrilled to have the items back," she said.

The medals and pay books belonged to VJ Pringle, who was the son of one of the first settlers in Lawrence.

He served in both World Wars, receiving eight medals.

"We were going to get replicas for the medals, but the pay books were absolutely irreplaceable," Mrs Bancroft said.

"They were less damaged than some of the other things, so they must have been lying under something."

Other items found included lodge regalia, an Australian flag, old pennies and half-pennies and items not even thought to be missing, such as an old telescope and flute.

Some of the items are beyond repair, which suggests they were exposed to the elements for some time, but overall the memorabilia was in good condition.

However, not all stolen items were returned, with an Austrian war helmet and mantle clocks dating back to the 1920s still missing.

Mrs Bancroft said finding the memorabilia nearly 20 kilometres away from the museum didn't shed any light on the identity of the culprit.

"I don't hold to the theory it was kids because there was nothing damaged except the doors, but you have to wonder about the mentality of people who would steal something that had Lawrence Historical Society written on it," she said.

Mrs Bancroft said the society couldn't thank enough the woman who found the items.

"We are really appreciative of what she's done," Mrs Bancroft said.

"She's been so wonderful to find it and give it back to us and we're so appreciative."



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