Capella businessman John Hallam believes FIFO mine workers at a nearby camp are responsible for damaging the statue commemorating his good mate, Herb Milne. Photo: Andy Plunkett
Capella businessman John Hallam believes FIFO mine workers at a nearby camp are responsible for damaging the statue commemorating his good mate, Herb Milne. Photo: Andy Plunkett

Vandalism is no joke

SOMEONE'S feeling sheepish about some senseless acts of vandalism that have shattered the community spirit of one Capella businessman. Is it ewe?

Service station and motel owner John Hallam's pain is compounded by the fact the fibreglass statue attacked twice in the week before Christmas honoured his former close mate and gun shearer in the district, Herb Milne.

He blames FIFO contract miners from a nearby camp, and fears an escalation in coal mining would lead to a rise in "brawls and unruly behaviour" from itinerant workers with no respect for the town.

"I'm bloody heartbroken," John said.

"Herb was a legendary shearer in the area and those idiots wouldn't have known - they wouldn't have a clue."

John's collection of statues is renowned around Capella. They're self-funded, custom made and done with the best of intentions to beautify the town.

"You wouldn't believe it, I'd just repaired the shearer and bolted him down after someone knocked him off his stand," John said.

"On the Sunday night, someone has turned him around and smashed him into the ground.

"Then they've gone to the garden and got the German wagon off its mountings and twisted it all around, and then they've decided they would get the bull.

"He's bolted to two railway sleepers and they've managed to lift the front of him up off the gravel and put a great gash in his back. There was more than one of them."

John put the shearer back on his perch outside the servo, then four days later, he saw a man he believed to be a FIFO miner charge the statue and wrestle it to the ground.

"I bolted out in my socks and shorts and said, 'what the hell are you doing?', and well, didn't he give me a mouthful," John recounted.

"I hope the person that did this enjoyed their Christmas as they must be proud of their achievement.

"I wish to bring to the attention of the community that as more workers arrive in town we can expect this on a much larger scale along with brawls and unruly behaviour as these people have little or no respect for private property, which is a threat to our children and families."

A complaint about the latest damage has been made to police. John intends to keep the shearer out of further harm's way by donating it to the Pioneer Village.

"I'm bloody heartbroken."

John Hallam


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