Garden 'gnoming' war brewing in Adelaide Hills suburb

A bizarre civil war has broken out in Adelaide between two anonymous vigilante groups claiming responsibility for the ‘gnoming’ phenomenon which has mystified Adelaide for more than a decade.

Following the most recent outbreak of garden gnomes on rooftops in the Adelaide Hills suburb of Blackwood, the mysterious group that began the craze revealed itself to the public for the first time this morning, when a ‘strange man’ appeared in the background of a Sunrise segment.

He was correctly identified by Artisan Café owner Heather Holmes-Ross as ‘one of the original Gnome Rangers’.

Hours earlier, the group reached out to Yahoo7 News to declare it was unimpressed with the latest gnome outbreak, which sees the popular garden ornaments glued to business roofs in the dead of night.

The Gnome Rangers asked Yahoo7 to film a video message in the style of vigilante hacking group Anonymous last night, suggesting only that they had ‘a plan’ for this morning.

The ‘A-gnome-ymous’ video suggests there may soon be rival groups jostling for the right to call themselves Blackwood’s true ‘Gnomers’.

The 'strange man' who gatecrashed a Sunrise segment this morning called Yahoo7 to a secret location in Adelaide last night. Photo: Yahoo7/Ben Brennan

“While we don't claim authority over anyone, as the peak body in the Gnome Ranging industry we feel that recent actions represent a bad precedent,” the statement said.

“We feel that gnoming should be socially inclusive.

“We do not wish to name any individuals or groups, but we have concerns that recent events seek to commercialise what has always been a fun and most importantly anonymous endeavour.

“We are The Gnome Rangers. We are gnoming. We do not commercialise. We do not forget. Expect us.”

Yahoo7 understands the Gnome Rangers believe the latest appearance of gnomes in the suburb is actually linked to a business group, which wants to use the popular act of ornamentation as a commercial tool.

The move is believed to have infuriated founding members of the group who believe the actions should be open to everyone, but should also be carried out for the benefit of the Blackwood community, not just a particular group of traders.

Last week the group released a statement on its website saying it was happy to see the craze being picked up by other groups but they said the latest revelations have soured their view of the outbreak.

The gnomes first appeared on Blackwood rooftops in 2003 and have re-emerged every few years but have been absent since 2009 until re-appearing this week.

Until last night no media organisation had been able to make direct contact with the original group responsible.

According to the Gnome Rangers, other groups have partaken in ‘gnoming’ over the past decade, but have always remained within the bounds of what they call the 'Gnoming Code of Conduct'.

However, they said they now know who the latest group is, as do many sections of the Adelaide media to which they have made themselves known. According to their statements, plans for a retaliation gnoming mission are now underway.

Despite speaking to Yahoo7 overnight, the group has still refused to explain how or why they began placing gnomes on rooftops, street lamps and other public property.

They also declined to resolve the mysteries around how they managed to get the ornaments into some extremely hard to reach places.

While bizarre, the gnomes have become a popular sight with Hills locals and the broader Adelaide community. As the popularity of the peculiar landmarks grew, the gnomes have attracted national media attention.

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