A Melb Captain Cook Statue Might Be Permanently Removed Because Vandalism, It Turns Out, Works

Another Captain Cook statue has been toppled in Melbourne, and now the council is considering disposing of it altogether.

The granite monument in Fitzroy’s Edinburgh Gardens was pulled to the ground on Sunday morning with the words “Cook the Colony” painted across it’s base.

It follows the toppling of a previous Cook statue in St Kilda last week, where protestors cut down the statue at the ankles and painted the words “the colony will fall”.

Now the Yarra City Council is considering scrapping the Fitzroy monument entirely. The Age reported that the council was advised that although the paint had been removed, more thorough cleaning would be needed and a break in the granite had caused “serious structural damage”.

“Due to the seriousness of the new damage, officers strongly recommend that the memorial be removed from location and that the object be deaccessioned from the collection in line with policy processes,” a council officer said.

The statue had been vandalised multiple times in recent years. Such incidents included graffiti, theft of the plaque and structural damage after being hit by vehicles on two seperate occasions.

Removal of the statue had council support before the current damage, with councillors acknowledging it’s divisiveness.

“We were the first council in Australia to acknowledge the fact that for Indigenous people, maybe Australia Day isn’t a day of celebration,” councillor Stephen Jolly told The Age.

“Now in Yarra, some people celebrate Australia Day in the traditional way, and increasing numbers of people, especially young people, go to the Invasion Day march and don’t necessarily see it as a day of celebration.”

These latest incidents join a growing list of damage to Captain Cook statues across Australia. The St Kilda statue has been damaged three times since 2018, and a monument in Sydney’s Hyde Park has been repeatedly damaged.