WRONGED: Chinchilla Historical Museum caretaker Oscar Lawrence and volunteer Joan Hubbard, pictured in the broken-in original Chinchilla State School, are disappointed in the recent museum theft.
WRONGED: Chinchilla Historical Museum caretaker Oscar Lawrence and volunteer Joan Hubbard, pictured in the broken-in original Chinchilla State School, are disappointed in the recent museum theft. Amani Vassiliou

Historic coat of arms taken from museum

CARETAKERS of Chinchilla Historical Museum are desperate for the return of precious historical relics stolen in a recent break-in.

Over the past 18 months, museum volunteer Joan Hubbard has been working on a new exhibit to display relics of the late Chinchilla Shire Council. She was left distraught upon finding two key artefacts had been taken: the wooden Chinchilla Coat of Arms and the original old school bell.

"The Chinchilla Coat of Arms was made for the... Council by Chinchilla people and it's such a crying shame that it can't be replaced under any circumstances," Mrs Hubbard said.

"It is a major cultural part of the display which is not open to the general public yet.

"It needs to come home; we don't care about the circumstances, can we please just have it back."

Since its establishment in 1971, the museum has acted as a vital keeping place for the town's history.

Caretaker Oscar Lawrence said in many ways, the "museum is really owned by the community".

"I am very disappointed people could steal from the community in this way," he said.

A police spokesman confirmed the matter is under an "ongoing investigation" and is presumed to have occurred sometime within the late evening of September 22, and early morning hours of September 23. There appeared to be visible signs of forced entry and damage.

"It's truly terrible what they have done," Mrs Hubbard said.

"They managed to break into four buildings: the church, Langlands Hall, the original Chinchilla State School and the old Chinchilla Shire Chamber.

"Everyone I have spoken to cannot understand why they would want it (the coat of arms); it belongs to Chinchilla."

Despite hopes remaining high the relics will be returned, the misfortune has incited an increased museum vigilance.

"The robbery has triggered an overhaul and upgrade of our security systems," Mr Lawrence said.

Local police said this serves as a strong reminder for every business to lock up and invest in security cameras and alarms.



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