FORMER GLORY: The Buster, on Woolgoolga Beach, which when next fully exposed by the tides won't look the same.
FORMER GLORY: The Buster, on Woolgoolga Beach, which when next fully exposed by the tides won't look the same. Brett Vercoe

Shipwrecker you're busted

POLICE have identified a person of interest in relation to the damage caused to Woolgoolga's iconic shipwreck.

Buster is a much-loved heritage landmark at the northern end of Woolgoolga's main beach and the community was outraged on Monday morning to discover a car had run right over the top of it breaking off the two main upright sections and bending the third.

The beach is restricted to vehicles but tyre marks were clearly visible leading away from the scene on Tuesday morning.

People took to social media to express their anger and some were speculating the incident was linked to a Pajero found stuck at Sandy Beach also in the early hours of Monday morning.

Police say the Pajero has been linked to the damage caused to Woolgoolga's much-loved shipwreck Buster.
Police say the Pajero has been linked to the damage caused to Woolgoolga's much-loved shipwreck Buster.

Coffs- Clarence Police have confirmed the Pajero abandoned on one of the pedestrian access points at the beach is believed to have been involved and that a number of people were in the vehicle at the time.

The car has been registered in the local area, but was unregistered at the time of the incident and details have enabled them to identify a person of interest and their investigations are ongoing.

The Office of Environment and Heritage is also investigating.

BEFORE: The three large upright sections on the water side can be seen in this image.  Two have been destroyed and the third bent.
BEFORE: The three large upright sections on the water side can be seen in this image. Two have been destroyed and the third bent.

Severe penalties exist under the Commonwealth Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018 and the State Heritage Act 1977 for disturbance of an Historic Shipwreck.

Buster was wrecked in February 1893 when the vessel put down two anchors and ran a hawser to the government outer buoy mooring near the old jetty in Woolgoolga which has since been dismantled.

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.

Buster at Woolgoolga.
Much-loved and much-photographed - Buster seen from the air. Alicia Townley