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Community & Business

14 December, 2020

Christmas trees vandalised.

Christmas grinches have vandalised several community Christmas tree's across the Tablelands.

By Phil Brandel

Primary School teacher Justine McDonnell showing how many decorations and baubles had been donated to the Ravenshoe Community Christmas Tree

Christmas grinches have vandalised several community Christmas tree's across the Tablelands. 

The Tablelands Regional Council (TRC) had erected a tree in the main street of Ravenshoe and November 30, locals were later disappointed to discover that on Sunday morning December 6 the tree had been vandalised with decorations smashed and strewn about the footpath and carpark.

Once word had gotten out about the vandalism Bree Hargreaves from the Tablelands Unite Facebook page put the challenge out to locals to re-decorate the tree with spare baubles and decorations that they had at home.

At the time Bree wrote “What if all the local families wrote a message of love, hope, peace and their family name on a decoration from home and hung it on the tree?” she wrote.

“A community decorated tree, let's turn this story into a happy ending! The tree will be looking great again in no time. They might think twice when they see their family and friends names up there. It could be the best looking tree in TRC. Spread the Christmas cheer and drown out the grinches.”

In no time at all locals like Nicola Barker had donated a box of baubles and placed it front of the tree with the instructions to grab a bauble, write your name with a message on it, hang it on the tree and take a photo and share it on social media using the hashtag #tablelandsunite

“We wanted to encourage locals to write a message about love or hope, just to try and get a bit of Christmas spirit back into the town,” Nicola said.

“We have all had a rough year and we wanted to have a bit of fun and we hoped that if local family names were on the tree it would be a lot more valuable to the town.”

More locals have since donated with more and more baubles and tinsel arriving.  St Teresa's teacher Justine McDonnell also got involved after she heard that the tree had been vandalised, donating some baubles to the box in front of the tree.

“I wrote on a bauble from our family and attached it to the tree,” she said.

“The tree is now looking great and looking full again.

“We want people to grab a bauble from the box and sign your name or write a Christmas message and put it on the tree.

“It’s not just for locals; it’s also for tourists who are driving through. It’s for anyone who wants to spread some Christmas cheer.”

The news of the Ravenshoe tree was not an uncommon one with the Mount Garnet Christmas tree being damaged between November 28 and 29, the tree was wrecked and the lights were smashed.

The Atherton Christmas tree was damaged on Sunday 6 December. At the time Queensland Police said that they had found a backpacker climbing the tree and that the tree and decorations sustained some damage.

Vandals also targeted The Christmas trees in Dimbulah and Mareeba multiple times last week.

In Dimbulah, the Christmas tree was vandalised twice in two days after it was repaired by Council while the Mareeba Christmas tree has been targeted almost every night since it was erected on December 1.

Mayor Angela Toppin said it was just simply unacceptable.

"I am extremely upset that this keeps happening,” Cr Toppin said.

"Not only is it disappointing for the communities, it also comes at quite a cost to the ratepayers to fix.

"Council has made continuous attempts to fix the decorations however, the materials and the tinsel is running short making it impossible to keep repairing the damage.

"Council will have no choice but to take the trees down if they continue to be vandalised.

"Every year we are faced with the same dilemma and it is just simply disappointing that a few individuals upset the Christmas spirit for the community.”

Any acts of vandalism should be reported to the local police.




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