Thieves target historic plaques in town centre

THIEVES have once again stolen historic plaques from New Norfolk’s town centre, following a previous spate of thefts several months ago. “Sadly, last night, a number of bronze plaques were stolen from Arthur Square and Pioneer Ave,” Derwent Valley Council executive manager Amanda McCall said. These are:

  • 13 pioneer plaques from Pioneer Avenue (for a total of 15 now stolen)
  • 2 from the Arthur Square Early Settler Wall
  • The Arthur Square sundial, and
  • The Queen’s Jubilee plaque (stolen for a second time).

“This is not only extremely disappointing for the community but also another impost on council resources to report, follow up and replace,” Ms McCall said. “The total value of replacing the plaques is $7000.”

The Cranfield and Cawthorn family plaques have been stolen from the Early Settlers Wall and an attempt was made to remove the title plaque at the left.

Ms McCall said the scrap metal value of the plaques appeared to be minimal but their removal would cause upset and distress in a large segment of the community.

Most of the plaques would have originally been paid for by the council, but the Cranfield and Cawthorn memorials stolen from the Early Settler Wall had been funded by the families concerned.

An issue for the council may be the ability to accurately replicate the information contained on the plaques.

Work is ongoing in the effort to replace the large plaque stolen from the Centenary of Federation Arch, also at Arthur Square, hampered by the lack of a detailed photo of the 23-year-old plaque.

The sundial at Arthur Square had been missing its gnomon (arm) for years, now the whole thing is gone.

Ms McCall said the thefts have been reported to Tasmania Police and she appealed for anyone with security camera or dashcam footage in the area to contact New Norfolk Police or call the council on 6261 8500. The phone number for the police is 131 444.

“If you live near any of these locations and have footage that may have captured anything that would help identify those responsible, or if you know or suspect anyone who may have been involved, please let us know.”

The sundial, although previously vandalised, had been in place near the Arthur Square fountain for several decades.

The Pioneer Ave plaques were developed several years ago by the New Norfolk Historical Information Centre to replace 1960s era plaques, and the early settler plaques had only just been reinstated on their new wall at the eastern corner of the square.

The plaque has been stolen from the Queen’s Jubilee monument at Arthur Square.

Note: This article previously contained incorrect information that one of the stolen plaques memorialised the Cowburn family. The correct name is Cawthorn.

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