Engadine residents are rallying to restore a the statue of Gelato the Giraffe that was decapitated by vandals last Saturday night.
Ryan Morris installed four giraffe statues in the front of his property on Princes Highway just before Christmas as a way of brightening up the area.
Since then the giraffes have become an Engadine landmark with Ryan dressing them up to reflect various holidays or community events.
Two of the giraffes stand behind his front fence and two in front and range in size from one to three-metres.
“They are made of fibreglass but I filled the the base of them with cement so they couldn’t be stolen,” Ryan said.
“But last Sunday morning, we found the head of one of them had been broken off. We think someone tried to climb on it or swung of its neck.”
Since the statue was damaged, the community has raised $1500 on the Engadine-Heathcote Community Page Facebook to get the statue repaired.
Ryan installed the statues as a way of making locals happy and stopping road rage.
He bought three of the large giraffes from his boss who had brought them back from overseas. He then bought a smaller statue to be the baby of the group.
He named the mother and father Pistachio and Bubblegum and the older brother Gelato. He has been asking suggestions for the name of the baby.
“My original idea of having the giraffes at the front of our house was a way of putting a smile on everyone’s face,” he said.
“We live on a corner on the Princes Highway and we could always hear people yelling with road rage as they waited to turn off the highway.
“I thought if we put something out front which was a bit weird and goofy it would give them something to smile at rather than being angry.
“People started talking about the giraffes on Facebook and little kids would drop notes to them in our letterbox.
“We would dress them up. On Mother’s Day we put a wig with rollers on one of the big giraffes and had the small one wearing a tie saying ‘I love Mum’.
“On derby day I dressed them in the Sharks and Dragons colours.
“They have become a sort of icon of Engadine.
“After we found one of the statues had been damaged my partner Tabitha put a message and photo on Facebook asking who would do this type of thing?
“We were blown away by the reaction. We have had small kids dropping letters in our mail box saying they hope the giraffe will get better soon,” Ryan said.
“Then the Community Page Facebook started raising money to get the giraffe repaired.
“Everyone is doing it tough at the moment, struggling to pay bills, so it a good feeling that people care.”