Hervey Bay RSL Sub-Branch president John Kelsey looks at the 5th Light Horse statue after it was vandalised.
Hervey Bay RSL Sub-Branch president John Kelsey looks at the 5th Light Horse statue after it was vandalised. Hayden Johnson

Teen who vandalised statue gains new Anzac respect

A TEENAGE boy who vandalised the statue of the light horseman in Hervey Bay's Freedom Park just weeks before the Anzac Day centenary has offered a heartfelt apology for his actions.

The bayonet held by the light horseman was snapped off in the incident, costing Hervey Bay's RSL Sub-Branch $2000 to repair.

The teen, who cannot be named, was ordered to complete a series of tasks as part of meeting the requirements of his Youth Justice Conferencing to avoid going to court.

The apology letter from a teenage boy who vandalised the statue of the light horseman in Hervey Bay's Freedom Park. Photo Amy Formosa / Fraser Coast Chronicle
The apology letter from a teenage boy who vandalised the statue of the light horseman in Hervey Bay's Freedom Park. Photo Amy Formosa / Fraser Coast Chronicle Amy Formosa

The young man met with Hervey Bay RSL Sub-Branch president John Kelsey and war veterans from across the Fraser Coast to learn about the significance of Anzac Day and the conflicts Australians had fought in.

Mr Kelsey said the teenager had benefited greatly from talking to the region's diggers.

He said the boy had read a book about the significance of Freedom Park and had even been tested on its contents.

"He learned a lot," Mr Kelsey said.

"He was keen to learn."

Mr Kelsey said it had come as a shock to the teen to learn how disrespectful his actions were and what it meant to the community.

The final task the boy was given was writing a letter to be published in the Fraser Coast Chronicle, apologising to Mr Kelsey, veterans and the Fraser Coast community for his actions.

The letter (top right) showed the remorse felt by the teenager, who said that at the time of the incident he had no idea what the statue stood for or how disrespectful he was being.