SENSELESS: Bexhill cathedral caretaker Grant Virtue with what's left of the information sign at the cathedral entrance after it was ripped off and stolen by vandals. Photo: Hamish Broome / The Northern Star
SENSELESS: Bexhill cathedral caretaker Grant Virtue with what's left of the information sign at the cathedral entrance after it was ripped off and stolen by vandals. Photo: Hamish Broome / The Northern Star

Vandalism at Bexhill Cathedral

IT'S a leading attraction in the Lismore council area but sadly the stunning Bexhill open air cathedral is attracting more than just tourists.

On Saturday night, the information sign that informs visitors about the foundation of the cathedral in 1958 was cut from its steel pole and removed.

Damage discovered Sunday morning

The cathedral's founder and caretaker Grant Virtue discovered the damage on Sunday morning.

"We had a wedding last Sunday at 2pm and when I came up before the wedding I discovered the sign giving the details of the establishment of the open-air cathedral and its usage had been cut down and taken," Mr Virtue said.

"The cathedral will have to get a new sign painted and decorated by a professional, sign writer, and a new galvanised stand."

"It will cost a lot of money, as we need to get it hot-dipped galvanised so it lasts forever."

Renovations recently done

The vandalism comes weeks after the sandstone pathway which leads from the car park to the cathedral altar was re-laid and reinforced with steel in stages over two years thanks to NSW Government grants totalling $25,000 arranged by Lismore MP Thomas George.

Mr Virtue said the act was a disappointment given the cathedral's important place in the community as a tourist attraction, and a popular site for weddings and services.

"It's an outstanding tourist attraction in the Lismore City Council area," he said.

"It's strongly supported by the Lismore City Council financially.

Fortunately the open air cathedral has an insurance policy which will hopefully cover the damage, but it could drive insurance premiums up.

"If we lose our insurance refund we'll pay for it ourselves," he said.

Vandalism in the past

The open air cathedral, an open site, has played host to a handful of disappointing acts of vandalism in its time.

The earliest one Mr Virtue could recall was 60 years ago, when he came around one morning to find the log seats taken from the Nightcap National Park had been rolled down the hillside, and the original large concrete cross was cracked.

Another time about three years ago a group of people had a "beer party" with a fire lit, and the had removed the inspiration sign hanging over the entrance to the cathedral and used it as firewood.

Another time a stolen car was burnt out in the carpark.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Lismore police on 6626 0599.



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