The Mount Evelyn RSL has expressed its severe disappointment at the tagging of the local war memorial in the lead-up to Remembrance Day.
President of the RSL Roger Boness said a seat in the Mount Evelyn Memorial Garden was tagged recently with what appears to be the name ‘Leroy’.
The Yarra Ranges Council has since had the tagging removed, however, Mr Boness said it was disheartening that someone would tamper with the garden at such an important time of year for veterans and their families.
“We find it extremely offensive and disrespectful in the lead up to Remembrance Day,” he said.
“We are that offended by it, we covered it up with black plastic.”
The Mount Evelyn Memorial Garden – on the corner of Birmingham Road and Wray Crescent – has been a joint project between the RSL and the Yarra Ranges Shire Council.
Over time, it has grown with the addition of an artillery gun, a new flagpole, murals, numerous flowers and plaques on pedestals.
The names on the plaques were previously on the avenue of honour that went down Wray Crescent.
“This memorial garden has been a labour of love,” Mr Boness said.
“What we’ve found because of the work that’s gone in over time that it’s become one of Mount Evelyn’s best assets.
“It’s a very popular place at the moment and we would like to keep it pristine because it’s sacred.
“It really puts a bad taste in your mouth when you get this kind of disrespect.”
Billanook Ward Councillor Tim Heenan also condemned the actions.
“It’s disappointing to find graffiti anywhere in Yarra Ranges, particularly when it’s in such a meaningful location as the Mount Evelyn Memorial Gardens,” he said.
“We know this area is well-loved by our older adults in the community and we mustn’t lose sight of the importance of these spaces and the people who use them.
“Our team went out on Thursday evening after being notified of the graffiti and removed tagging from a park bench.”
The Mount Evelyn Memorial Garden is also a stop along the Warburton Rail Trail and can be used by passers-by to either sit down for a break or go to the toilet.
Mr Boness said this isn’t the first time the garden has been tampered with after two rows of ANZAC roses were stolen in the past.
Anyone who comes across graffiti in public spaces can report it to the Yarra Ranges Council by calling 1300 368 333.