‘For those who lose loved ones’: Roadside memorials disappear

Adam Baskijin, 20, and Aaron Ogg, 30.Two roadside memorials dedicated toyoung Ballarat men have been stolen in recent weeks, leaving their families wanting answers.
Nanjing Night Net

Debra Kopunovic, whose sonAdam Baskijindied in a crash on the Midland Highway, read a story inThe Courierlast Sunday about a missingwooden cross that was hung on a tree in Nerrina for drowned Ballarat man Aaron Ogg.

The reportleft her surprised as a wire cross she previouslylaidfor Adam on the Midland Highway near Buninyong also vanished last month.

Initially, MsKopunovic had sought written permissionfrom VicRoads to erect a wooden cross, which stood on the site fora decade after Adam’s death in 2007.

However, it sustained weather damageand Ms Kopunovic replaced it with the wire cross, which recently went missing just like Mr Ogg’s.

The theftdealt a big blow to Ms Kopunovic, who has regularly visited the site for years.

“Death is an every day thing and it’s a reality,” she said.

“Adam didn’t just vanish not to be mentioned again, I don’t believe in that. I believe that life continues and it’s up to us to carry on his memoryby mentioning him and showing respect.”

MsKopunovicdid not think VicRoads removed the wire cross as the previous woodenone had remainedfor years without a problem.

A spokesperson for VicRoads said on Thursday the memorial was not removed by the authority.

VicRoads western region director Mal Kersting saida roadside memorial would only be taken down if there were safety concerns that would impact on the community or maintenance works.

“We understand that roadside memorials can play an important part in the grieving process for those who have lost a loved one on our roads,” he said.

Similarly,Mr Ogg’s uncle, Craig,did not believe a ranger removed their cross, with a Parks Victoria spokesman confirming on Thursday the authority did not take it down.

“Its (theft) has made me feel very angry because his dad, Ian, goes up there and sits there all the time to think,” Craig said.

Debra Kopunovic

The Courier, Ballarat

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