THEFTS of metal items that can be sold on the scrap metal black markets have plagued the Lithgow area for years but have become ‘chronic’ over the past 12 months.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
The thieves even became parasites preying on the Zig Zag Railway as it struggled to recover from successive disasters last year, adding to the already huge costs of returning to service.
Now of of Lithgow’s most important heritage sites has been targeted with virtually irreplaceable items stolen.
And it was a heavyweight operation.
Over the Christmas break thieves have stolen a number of blacksmith tools from the Eskbank House and Museum.
It is a theft that has impacted on the heritage displays and which has caused considerable concern to council and local historians.
Mayor Maree Statham said that shortly after Christmas, Eskbank House volunteers noticed that an anvil and a number of blacksmith tools were missing from the Blacksmith Display.
The tools and the anvil had their own historic links with Lithgow and were donated by the Lithgow Co-operative Society when it closed in 1985.
“So they have been in the Eskbank collection for nearly 30 years and represent an important link with the industrial and social heritage of the town.
“It is distressing to lose items of this significance,” Cr Statham said.
The Blacksmith Display is a well known feature of Eskbank House and has been visited and enjoyed by many over the years.
What has surprised both council and investigating police is that the anvil weighs some 300 to 350 kilograms and a ute with a hoist would have been required to move it.
“I ask that if anyone has any information on the whereabouts of the blacksmith anvil and tools, they should please contact Lithgow Police on 6352 8399,” Cr Statham said.
The security of Eskbank House has been compromised since part of the mesh fence was demolished during a tree removal program by Endeavour Energy last year.
The tree removal was itself controversial at the time but was claimed to be necessary because of a threat to power lines in the vicinity.
The only plus aspect was that the removal of the trees meant that anyone entering the grounds could be easily see from the street.
Council is currently well advanced in the construction of a new boundary fence more in keeping with the historical nature of the site.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.