A public forum request seeking an investigation into the missing relics from the Fitz Roy Iron Works site will be presented to council next week.
Local historian Tim McCartney, who along with Dr Leah Day OAM had overseen the initial salvage of the 200 sandstone blocks and 1000 hand-made bricks, wrote a formal request for an investigation after several attempts to locate the relics had been unsuccessful.
“Council needs to do a full internal investigation and take full responsibility for what they’ve done,” Mr McCartney said.
“Even if they sold them, council has a responsibility to find out and put them back...someone has to know something,” he said.
Mr McCartney first contacted the former mayor, Cr Ken Halstead in October 2017 about the missing relics and, following several months of back and forths, was invited to contact deputy general manager, operations, finance and risk Barry Paull.
I think there is validity in asking those questions and I’d support seeking answers to them.Councillor Larry Whipper
Mr Paull advised on September 27, 2018 by email that “[council] was unable to locate or confirm the whereabouts of the stones.”
A council spokesperson advised Southern Highland News that it was believed the relics were “removed from the RRC at some point in the last nine years.”
“Unfortunately, without the knowledge of the staff who have since left council, we are unable to locate nor confirm the whereabouts of the stones,” the spokesperson said.
Read more: Fitz Roy Iron Works Heritage Circuit launch
Councillor Larry Whipper said he had “fought very hard” to maintain the integrity of the Fitz Roy Iron Works site when it was first developed and would support the request to open an investigation.
“I think there is validity in asking those questions and I’d support seeking answers to them,” Cr Whipper said.
Mayor Duncan Gair would not commit to opening an investigation into the matter until presented with the formal request next week.
“Until I see the wording or the nature of the request, I can’t really comment,” Cr Gair said.
“I would like to think we don’t need to do this, but I’m not going to walk away from it.”
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