Thieves target Gallipoli medal
By EMMA CORNFORD
THE Lawrence Historical Society has been 'devastated' by a theft in which irreplaceable items, including a Gallipoli Star war medal, were stolen.
Society president Rae Harrison said the stolen items included a German war helmet, antique toy cars, a mantle clock, pennies, lodge robes and the group's Australian flag.
The items had been donated by Clarence Valley locals to be housed at the Lawrence Museum.
Society members discovered the theft at their weekly meeting last Thursday night. Mrs Harrison said the break-in had taken place sometime between Tuesday afternoon and the meeting.
"I'm still shaky about it to be honest," she said. "All the committee members are devastated."
Although there were numerous other items of value in the museum, Mrs Harrison said it appeared as though the thief, or thieves, knew what they were looking for.
"For example, it wasn't just the medals they took; there was a little folder there of all the wages (the soldier) received when he was in the army. It's things like that which you can't replace," she said.
"We can't believe that someone would stoop so low and steal this medal, plus others, donated to our museum. There are many people around Australia who are aware of the enormous sacrifice that the men of the first World War made for Australia and to think that someone is looking at this as some means of financial gain defies belief."
Although there was damage to two doors inside the museum, where it appeared the intruder attempted to gain entry to two back rooms, there were no signs of forced entry to the building.
"We hope to continue, because we're very proud of our museum and we've worked really hard. Hopefully someone will have seen or heard something that they can pass on to police," Mrs Harrison said. "It's sad that there are people who attempt to gain from the efforts of a small community to preserve its heritage by stealing the very items that they have collected and worked so hard to look after."