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Mum’s grave wrecked; daughter heartbroken

HEARTLESS ACT: Colleen Hurley found her mother's grave destroyed by vandals.
HEARTLESS ACT: Colleen Hurley found her mother's grave destroyed by vandals. Kate Darvall

COLLEEN Hurley made the trip back to Cherbourg to visit her mother's grave last week, but found it destroyed and covered in shrapnel.

When Mrs Hurley discovered the grave, she said she was left heartbroken.

"Words can't describe how I feel looking at it like that," she said.

"My spirit has been broken because it's been wrecked."

Mrs Hurley said she drove from Brisbane to Cherbourg just to pay tribute to her mother and decorate the grave.

"I was prepared to have it all done with flowers before I went home, but now I can't bring myself to touch it," she said.

"I'm worried if I do it all again, it will just be wrecked again.

"How many times do I have to do it?"

Mrs Hurley said creating a beautiful grave site for her mother meant everything to her.

"This is my way of paying my respects to her and telling her I love her," she said.

"It's just because I miss her so much."

HEARTLESS ACT: Colleen Hurley found her mother's grave destroyed by vandals.
HEARTLESS ACT: Colleen Hurley found her mother's grave destroyed by vandals. Kate Darvall

The heartless act of vandalism saw ornaments from her mother's and neighbouring graves smashed and strewn across the sacred land.

An angel once watching over her mother was smashed, vases were broken and her mother's photograph shattered.

Mrs Hurley said the angel alone cost her $350, and the grave cost $6000 in total.

"But the money's not the problem," she said.

"I don't care how much it costs me.

"I'll fix it and do it again, I just don't want to have to."

Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Ken Bone said the community was very unhappy and he was personally appalled by the act of vandalism.

"It's against our culture to disturb graves," he said.

Cr Bone said he was unsure who vandalised the property, but would appeal to the community to try to prevent it from happening again.

Officer in charge at Cherbourg police station Scott Prendergast said this was the first report of vandalism at the cemetery they had received.

"Certainly, like all communities, we have some graffiti in town, but vandalism at the cemetery is very out of the ordinary," he said.

"I find it repulsive that individuals would damage the graves of deceased persons."

Sgt Prendergast said he was outraged, and police had put additional resources into finding the culprits responsible.

Topics:  cemetery cherbourg police south burnett vandalism

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