THIEVES have stolen a 3/4 tonne quartz rock of national significance donated by Bendigo to the National Rock Garden in Canberra.
The rock, chosen to represent the state, symbolises the state's gold rush history.
A spokesperson from the gardens says the highly organised thieves stole the rock using a truck and crane.
"This theft was not a spur of the moment decision; the stone was heavy," they said.
"The volunteers are working to create something educational and beautiful at the gardens.
"But on February 13 organised thieves stole from the garden and damaged the rocks in the process. "
It is believed the rock, donated by Unity Mining, was extracted from a mine area hundreds of metres below the current police station site on High Street.
Bendigo Historical Society president Jim Evans said it was very disappointing the rock had been stolen.
"This was a symbol of our heritage, and a reminder of how in the 19th century Bendigo boasted the richest goldfield in the country," he said.
"It's amazing that some people want to steal these sorts of things."
The National Rock Garden is a project initiated by the Geological Society of Australia in a bid to celebrate Australia’s rich geological heritage.
Victorian premier Denis Napthine said late last year that the reef quartz rock was a symbol of the state’s gold rush.
The garden is comprised of iconic rocks from each state and territory and provides a centenary link to the six-sided Canberra Foundation Stone laid in 1913.
“Our contribution to the National Rock Garden has been sourced from Bendigo, which was one of the largest goldfields in Australia,” Dr Napthine said.
“Reef quartz was mined for gold during Victoria’s gold rush periods of the 1850s and 1860s, which contributed greatly to the early development of our state.”
Uniting Mining and the Geological Society of Australia could not be contacted.