Monument Madness: Campaign Against Statue That States Captain Cook ‘Discovered’ Australia


Aboriginal campaigners are demanding that reference to Captain James Cook discovering Australia be removed from a 138-year-old statue of the British naval explorer.

Sparked by the high-profile removal of Confederate statues and desecration of memorials to historic figures in the United States, a debate has erupted in Australia over the role eighteenth-century British explorer Captain Cook had in the founding of the country, The Telegraph reports.

Aboriginal writer Stan Grant wrote on Australia’s ABC News website that the statue’s inscription that Captain Cook “Discovered this territory 1770” should be removed as it renders indigenous people “invisible” and “a postscript to Australian history”.

The call was supported by other Aboriginal activists, many of whom would rather the statue be removed altogether, with the City of Sydney council referring the complaint to its indigenous board for consultation.

Similarly, left wing New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is considering a proposal to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus and has ordered a review of all the city’s statues and monuments on Tuesday. The day before, a protester attacked a 225-year-old monument to the explorer with a sledge hammer in Baltimore, Maryland.

Australia’s conservative former Prime Minister Tony Abbott blasted the suggestion, warning that the left wing government would subject the country to “political correctness on steroids”.

“You can just imagine all the statues of Captain Cook being taken down, all the statues of Governor [Arthur] Phillip [the founding governor of the British colony in New South Wales] being taken down,” he told 2GB Radio.

Historian Keith Windschuttle wrote in The Australian that the inscription was “perfectly accurate”, and described the debate as “wanton provocation”.

“Cook was in fact the first person in history to traverse the whole of this coastline and view its 2,000 miles of shores and hinterland,” he wrote.

“No Aboriginal person had done that before — they never had the maritime technology to do it,” he added.

Earlier this week, Breitbart London reported that the left wing Guardian published an article arguing that the statue of Battle of Trafalgar naval tactician Horatio Nelson should be removed from his plinth in Trafalgar Square, London.

Traditionally regarded as one of the greatest heroes of the British people, broadcaster Afua Hirsch dismissed the Admiral as “what you would now call, without hesitation, a white supremacist”.

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