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Wishing well for the homeless plundered in Balaclava

Luke Mason with his wishing well. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Since Balaclava resident Luke Mason built a humble wishing well in his front yard in December 2014, it has grown to become somewhat of a community landmark.

The coins – $6721.85 worth so far – go to feed the homeless at nearby St Kilda's Sacred Heart Mission.

Mr Mason, the victim of a violent home invasion, built the spectacular three-tiered water feature as a way of a dealing with the post-traumatic stress syndrome he acquired from the attack.

Spurred by his community's enthusiasm, the structure has morphed to include a rooftop display, glass viewing window and television information screen.


Children, the elderly and even whole dinner parties stop to giggle with delight at the bubbling water, bobbing animal figurines, fish, lasers and lights.

The gardener's mental health improves as he hears the joy he's bringing to others.

So when he returned from a holiday this week to find it damaged and robbed of all its wishes, Mr Mason was understandably distraught.

"I was just devastated, because I know how much the community love it," he said.

"I just hope that the people that did it really needed it."

A neighbour saw a tall male and a female, in their mid 20s, stealing from the well about 5am on Tuesday.

They took off with a "substantial" amount of money due to extra visitors over the holiday period who came to see a special Christmas display.

Mr Mason worked into the night to fix broken pumps, lights and misters so that the scores of people who pass by each day wouldn't be alarmed.

"I didn't want to see it make people feel sad or upset," he said. "This is a happy place to go to."

He now plans to empty it each night and install CCTV cameras and alarm sensors, hoping to get sponsorship from a security company.

Sacred Heart Mission spokeswoman Marika Fengler​ said the organisation was disappointed to hear about the theft from the well, which has raised the equivalent of 1680 meals for the homeless.

"We continue to be heartened by the enormous generosity of Luke and everyone who has thrown a coin into the wishing well," she said.

Visit the Sacred Heart Wishing Well at 7 Nelson Street, Balaclava. Anyone with information should contact police.