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Vandalism of John Flynn memorial: update

Memorial to John Flynn painted over, June 2007

Memorial to John Flynn painted over, June 2007

The ACT Government has admitted to removing a memorial plaque and concreting over the Flynn name on a National Memorial celebrating the centenary of the birth of the Reverend John Flynn, founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Apparently this is the first time a government has desecrated a National Memorial.

No longer in the possession of Andrew Barr (Education Minister), the plaque is now back in the hands of the Department of Territory and Municipal Services. It is slightly bent, they say, and they are now liaising with the Australian Government about where it should go.

The ACT Government still does not seem to understand that the entire object—the plaque, the stone wall it was attached to, and the engraved name ‘Flynn’—is a National Memorial. The plaque belongs with the rest of the memorial, outside the now-closed Flynn Primary School.

This follows an interesting week, which included a claim that the plaque was removed to protect it from vandalism. The Flynn community knows that the memorial had not been vandalised in its 27-year history. Some were deeply offended at the accusation; and the Australian Government pointed out that it had seen no signs of vandalism during any of the monthly routine inspections of the site. It was also difficult to understand how obliterating the name ‘Flynn’, which had been engraved into stone wall itself, lent any protection from anything.

Local MLA, Vicki Dunne, pointed out that the act seemed to be an attempt to obliterate not just a school, not just a community, but the name of the Reverend John Flynn himself.

The entire memorial has now been painted white, presumably in an ill-fated, early-morning attempt to cover up the transgression. The flowers in the photo have been placed by members of the community. No one can work out why a government would do such a thing.

Images from Flynn

Angles on the textured concrete walls


Flynn grounds

Landscape setting & grounds

Enrico Taglietti visting the school he designed

History and design

Memorial to John Flynn

Memorial to John Flynn