27 October 2021

'Irreversible' damage done to 200-million-year-old cave vandalised at Kosciuszko National Park

| Max O'Driscoll
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The Jillabenan Caves

The Jillabenan Caves are the oldest and most accessible caves at Yarrangobilly. Photo: E Sheargold.

The Jillabenan Cave at Kosciuszko National Park has been the target of vandals after it was broken into and damaged recently.

The cave is a part of the much-loved Snowy Mountains tourism destination, the Yarrangobilly Cave.

Officers from the Riverina Police District began an investigation on Saturday, 23 October, after receiving a report of damage inside the cave.

It’s believed the incident took place sometime between Sunday, 17 October and Saturday, 23 October. A padlock securing the doorway to the cave was removed and the stalactites and speleothems, otherwise known as “straws”, inside the cave were damaged. The damage is considered irreversible as the cave features were naturally formed and believed to be around 200 million years old. A power distribution board was also damaged in the break-in.

Vandalised cave

The vandalised Jillabenan Cave. Damage is considered not as bad as first thought. Photo: Riverina Police District.

Former Kosciuszko National Park Manager Ross McKinney described the act as “disgusting”.

“For a person or group of people to bust a lock, go into and do such a thing that took millions of years to create and provides stunning beauty to visitors and education to many, I just don’t know what’s in these peoples heads to do this,” said Mr McKinney.

“What’s done is done. It will never be the same unless you go back in a million years,” he said.

Mr McKinney was with the Kosciuszko National Park when the Park undertook wheelchair accessibility upgrades and removed one stalactite. That stalactite was taken away for research and eventually produced valuable information.

READ ALSO Thermal pool, limestone chambers and Snowy Mountains caves a tourist drawcard

He was hopeful police will catch the culprits soon and shed some light on the reasons for their actions, if there were any at all.

Anyone with information or who may have seen anything suspicious in the area is urged to contact Tumut Police at 6947 7199 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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The damage probably was done by humans, unless there was a bull charging around in the caves??

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