Buster gets busted up leaving locals fuming
EARLY morning beachgoers were devastated to discover extensive damage to Buster - Woolgoolga's iconic ship wreck.
It appears a car drove right over it in the middle of the night breaking off two prominent pieces and bending a third.
Sam Newman from Woolgoolga Backpackers is one of many locals furious about the damage to such an important part of the town's heritage.
"The beach is restricted to vehicle access for a reason. Buster is a very important part of our local heritage and you WILL pay the consequences," he posted on the Woolgoolga and the Northern Beaches - What's happening Facebook page.
Buster is exposed during different tides throughout the year and is a common sight for locals and visitors and people have taken to social media to express their anger over the destruction.
'Absolute moronic behaviour. This was a very historical and significant piece of Woolgoolga's history, I hope the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH, the relevant authority in this case) catches you and fines you so hard you are paying for the damages for the rest of your life,' Todd Bisby posted.
'That is so so sad. I have lived her for 13 years and it has never been damaged,' wrote Suzanne Bracher.
'Far out! That's unbelievable,' Vicki Hodgson wrote.
It's clearly a much-loved local icon but the history behind the wreck isn't known to everyone.
In February 1893, the vessel put down two anchors and ran a hawser to the government outer buoy mooring near the jetty in Woolgoolga.
When the wind and sea increased from the south east, the port anchor cable holding the Buster snapped.
For the following nine hours, the vessel managed to ride the waves with a single buoy but when another large swell struck at 6pm, the vessel drove through the breakers stern first onto the beach.
Some locals are speculating that the incident is linked to a Pajero found stuck at Sandy Beach also in the early hours of this morning.
The Office of Environment and Heritage is the relevant authority and officers are investigating the matter.
More details to come.