A battle to save a historic kindergarten in the Dandenongs has turned ugly after a clash between a demolition worker and a female protester.
Emotions are running high because this is no ordinary building - hundreds took shelter there on Ash Wednesday.
Cockatoo resident Mary Farrow put her body on the line as workers moved in.
"Plenty of alternatives - for them to take the most violent one is outrageous," she said.
Residents stayed over night outside the boarded up former kindergarten after a tip-off Cardinia Council was sending in the demolition teams.
Witness Andrew Gray told 7News: "It's pretty deplorable the way they acted."
They have been fighting for five years to save the building where 300 people took refuge on Ash Wednesday.
Resident Tony Calvert added: "It's our town - they don't want to mess with our town."
Residents claim the tree planted by Princess Diana is also destined to get the chop.
Resident Patsy Parnall branded it a 'sacred site'.
The Cardinia Council says it is too expensive to refurbish the building - instead wanting to move the community hub to an abandoned take away down the street.
Late today - a temporary reprieve and other plans to preserve Ash Wednesday memories on the site.
Brett Owen, a spokesman for Cardinia Council: "My view is that we should hold off at the moment."While the residents of Cockatoo may have won today's battle they haven't won the war and are vowing to sleep in shifts in case workman from the Cardinia Council return to get the job done.
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