Long road to recovery for Eaglehawk arson victims

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THE effects of an arson attack on the Bendigo Baseball Association clubrooms are expected to last for years, even after the two arsonists responsible were sentenced in court this week.

The February 4 fire on the building at Albert Roy Reserve caused $550,000 damage to the rooms, destroyed 80 years worth of memorabilia and $35,000 in equipment.

All that remains is a plastic tub of fire damaged plaques and a few record books.

Not only did the association lose valuable history, it also lost its home of 30 years.

Bendigo Baseball Association secretary Cass Fuller said the fire occurred just before they started transferring old records to a digital format, meaning they lost almost all of the history.

She said the arson attacks had impacted the level of involvement in baseball in 2016.

“The clubrooms were our home, the place where we could hold our meetings, where we could run fun activities for the kids, where we kept our honour boards, where we kept our equipment and uniforms for our Bendigo representative teams,” Ms Fuller said.

“We lost a number of players this season forcing us to combine our previous B and C Grade divisions into one B Grade Division. We also lost many junior players.

“We're planning on holding some fundraisers including a trivia night, to help raise some funds to contribute to the rebuild of a pavilion at Albert Roy Reserve.”

The Falcons Baseball Club will host a car show next weekend to raise funds for the rebuild.

Other Eaglehawk community groups have been able to make progress after they were targeted by the arsonists.

The Rotary Book Shop on High Street sustained $55,000 damage after a fire was lit at the shop’s rear on February 14, causing extensive damage to property and destroying almost all of the books.

The building belonged to the late husband of a Rotary Club member, who donated the space to the club free of charge. The books were donated by the community.

Rotary Club of Eaglehawk secretary Alison Bacon said the shop had been forced to close for about three months, meaning the club lost valuable income.

“We were able to replenish the stock of books through the sheer generosity of the community and other Rotary clubs,” she said.

“We are now back up and running. There was an effect to the local Rotary Club because of the reduced income during those months that we were closed.

“The upside is that we were able to see the community pull together, and donations flooded in.”

The book shop is open every Saturday from 10am to 12pm.


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