Castlemaine graffiti response ramps up

The Forest Street overpass was repainted in late November. Photo: Bill Wiglesworth.
The Forest Street overpass was repainted in late November. Photo: Bill Wiglesworth.

The Castlemaine region was struck with another spate of graffiti vandalism over the holiday period.
Local anti-graffiti campaigner Bill Wiglesworth said that disappointingly offender/s once again targeted the Forest Street railway overpass just two weeks after VicTrack staff had cleaned off the last offensive material.
The Don KR Castlemaine factory building in Walker Street and JJ Leech & Sons Transport yard in Richards Road also fell victim to large amounts of graffiti.
Concerned community members would like to see the problem addressed ahead of the upcoming Castlemaine State Festival to ensure the town is looking its best for the 2023 event.
In fact, some frustrated community members have taken the clean up into their own hands, painting over graffiti at a number of locations.
Despite the latest outbreak there are positive moves afoot in the town to re-establish the local graffiti working group which fell by the wayside during covid and police are also ramping up patrols across the township.
In October Mount Alexander Shire Council issued a letter to local residents and business owners advising them that ‘it is an offence under council’s General Local Law to allow graffiti to remain on property for more than seven days.’ The letter urged recipients to remove any graffiti from their property within 14 days.
Mr Wiglesworth said this action saw a number of local businesses move to clean up existing graffiti to avoid a fine.
“Many property owners feel it’s a further form of punishment. Their business or home has already been the target of vandalism and then they have to foot the bill to clean it up or face a fine. They’d like to see the perpetrators caught and the courts order them to clean up their own mess as recompense and rightly so,” Mr Wiglesworth said.
The anti-graffiti campaigner has recently taken to using the Snap Send Solve app to report new incidents of graffiti direct to the shire.
“The shire is trying harder to quickly remove graffiti on council property, but it’s a much slower process on VicTrack and private property,” he said.
“It is widely accepted that if graffiti is removed quickly and consistently offenders are deterred from returning to those locations,” he said.
Another concerned community member, Peter Watt, took the opportunity to address the council about the issue at Public Question Time at the December 2022 meeting.
“When the Castlemaine Graffiti Working Group last met in February 2021, there was mention by MASC of applying for a grant for “a fully equipped trailer and graffiti cleaning
packs for residents. Almost two years later, the graffiti problem has grown, yet there is no fully equipped trailer, no graffiti cleaning packs for residents, and no functioning Graffiti Working Group, Why? Other councils have introduced active, effective anti-graffiti measures. Why hasn’t MASC done the same?” he queried.
Castlemaine Police have reportedly recently made a submission to Mount Alexander Shire Council regarding a coordinated anti-graffiti plan.
The Rotary Club of Castlemaine has also expressed an interest in lending a hand to clean up graffiti where businesses or residents are struggling to deal with the problem.
Mr Wiglesworth said he is not sure what the answer is to address the ongoing issue.
“Perhaps the council needs to look at providing a creative space or outlet where these people can positively express themselves and explore their art where it doesn’t negatively impact community members and business and detract from our beautiful heritage streetscapes,” he said.

The Don KR factory building in Walker Street was the target of graffiti in late 2022. Photo: Bill Wiglesworth.
The Don KR factory building in Walker Street was the target of graffiti in late 2022. Photo: Bill Wiglesworth.

Lisa Dennis
Editor of the Castlemaine Mail newspaper and senior journalist on our sister paper the Midland Express. Over the last 24 years Lisa been proudly reporting news in the Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges communities.