The grandson of Buster's owner George Robertson (inset) is furious about the damage to the historic wreck.
The grandson of Buster's owner George Robertson (inset) is furious about the damage to the historic wreck. Trevor Veale

Grandson furious Buster's wrecker still on the loose

THE grandson of Buster's owner is furious nobody has been brought to justice for damaging the iconic shipwreck.

Jay Robertson has called Coffs Harbour police to find out if anybody has been charged over the incident in which a car driving illegally along Woolgoolga Beach late one night ran right over the top of the historic wreck.

"I wanted to find out how it was going and if they had got somebody yet. I was quite prepared to head up to Coffs Harbour and sit in on any court proceedings and give my two bobs worth," Jay said.

Early morning walkers on April 30 were devastated to find two of the main metal upright sections were broken off and a third damaged, with tyre marks heading away in a southerly direction.

A Pajero was found stuck at Sandy Beach the same morning with police linking it to the incident.

At the time police said they had identified a person of interest but as yet, nobody has been charged.

"My immediate reaction was disgust and then I thought: I hope to God they catch the sods that perpetrated this vandalism.

"Police told me that a car was found but it wasn't registered and that's as far as they've got."

 

At the time police said the Pajero was linked to the damage caused to Woolgoolga's much-loved shipwreck Buster.
At the time police said the Pajero was linked to the damage caused to Woolgoolga's much-loved shipwreck Buster.

The 77-year-old lives in Sydney, but was shown clippings from the Advocate's coverage by his sister-in-law, who lives in Coffs Harbour.

In a coincidental twist, Jay was already a keen maritime historian prior to discovering his family links to the wreck through his cousin who was researching their family history many years ago.

He learnt his grandfather George Robertson was the owner of The Buster, a 39-metre timber barque built in Canada in 1884.

It was wrecked on Woolgoolga Beach on a stormy night in February 1893 on its way from Sydney to New Zealand with a load of timber.

"I've often joked that carting timber from Australia to New Zealand is a bit like carting coal from Sydney to Newcastle," Mr Robertson said.

 

INSPIRING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Buster is a much-loved icon at Woolgoolga.
INSPIRING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Buster is a much-loved icon at Woolgoolga. James Robert Thorn

Buster was one of the first ships George Robertson bought and one of its first jobs after coming to Australia was to transport a load of dynamite from Melbourne to Sydney.

"I was quite chuffed to find out that," Jay said.

Upon arriving in Australia George formed a shipping company with Ivan Nelson and to this day the business lives on, now known as Nelson and Robertson Exports.

George had 11 children to two wives with seven dying in infancy.

Jay never knew his grandfather who passed away in 1920 before he was born.

He hopes the full force of the law will be enlisted if the perpetrator is caught.

"As the grandson of the owner I am deeply shocked and upset at what's happened. What they've done is absolutely senseless. People these days aren't responsible for their actions and you get lily-livered judges that give these people a slap on the wrist."

Penalties for interfering with historic relics include imprisonment and fines of up to $1-million.



Vehicle that left highway found under a bridge on its roof

premium_icon Vehicle that left highway found under a bridge on its roof

Emergency services had to search for the vehicle due to its location

Savage dog attack leaves family devastated

premium_icon Savage dog attack leaves family devastated

There has been a spate of dog attacks in recent months.

EXCLUSIVE: Sporting superstars will grace our stadium soon

premium_icon EXCLUSIVE: Sporting superstars will grace our stadium soon

COFFS hasn't hosted professional sport at the stadium since 2017.