THE BELLINGEN community has been left saddened after the town's cenotaph was vandalised - likely with a hammer - in an act described by the local RSL as the height of stupidity.
It appears the damage happened last week, and was first detected by Bellingen Shire Council.
A local stonemason, Nick Locke, has inspected the memorial, and Bellinger River RSL sub branch members have been advised.
"It appears someone has climbed up on top of the pedestal and hit the granite obelisk with a hammer," sub branch president Rick Maunder told the Courier-Sun.
"The damage is not immediately noticeable from the ground, but the edges have been badly chipped. We have been told it's restorable but the challenge will be matching the colour, which will be difficult."
Mr Maunder said the memorial which stands at the top of the town - was inaugurated in 1926 and cost 486 pounds, and was funded through public subscription.
"The average wage back then was four pounds a week. I find it very sad to think that a public monument which was paid for in shillings and pence, willingly given by people who could ill afford it over 94 years ago, in honour of the memory of family, friends and fellow citizens who died overseas in defence of this nation's values, has been damaged in this senseless manner," Mr Maunder said.
"It belongs to the community and the 92 names on it represent members of the valley community who died on overseas service in WWI, WWII and Afghanistan. As an aside, Sgt Matthew Locke, who lost his life in Afghanistan, is Nick's younger brother.
"The memorial has had its' share of travails over the years like the one at Dorrigo. There's been vehicle accidents and the memorial was refurbished in the early 1990s."
Only a few weeks ago the cenotaph in the nearby town of Dorrigo was damaged when it was hit by a vehicle.
On May 14, an SUV struck the cenotaph which sits in the middle of Dorrigo's main street - causing considerable damage, with the soldier coming to rest on the roof of the vehicle.
The incident distressed local residents, but the Dorrigo RSL sub-branch is resolute that the cenotaph can be restored in time for ANZAC Day commemorations in 2022 - the centenary of its installment.