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Sir Edmund Barton statue should be torn down says his great-granddaughter

Great-granddaughter of Australia’s first prime minister SUPPORTS calls to have his ‘deeply racist’ statue torn down from an indigenous burial site

  • Sir Edmund Barton drafted a precursor to the White Australia policy in 1901 
  • His statue was erected in 2001 within ten metres of an Aboriginal burial site
  • Statues are being torn down across the world by Black Lives Matter protesters
  • Petition was created that called for the Barton statue to be moved from the site
  • His great-granddaughter, Anne, has thrown her support behind the campaign  

The great-granddaughter of Australia’s first prime minister has backed a call for his statue to be removed amid the Black Lives Matter movement.  

Sir Edmund Barton was the first national leader after Federation in 1901 and played a key role in drafting the precursor to the White Australia policy.

He also framed a constitution that did not recognise Aboriginal people.

In the wake of slave trader statues being torn down in the U.S and U.K, activists have now started a petition to move a monument of Sir Edmund in Port Macquarie, on the mid-north coast of NSW, away from an Indigenous burial site.  

Anne Barton, Sir Edmund’s great-granddaughter, has thrown her support behind the campaign, claiming she believes ‘he was a man of his time and was deeply racist.’

Sir Edmund Barton was the first national leader after Federation in 1901 and played a key role in drafting the precursor to the White Australia policy. 

Anne Barton, Sir Edmund's great-granddaughter, has thrown her support behind the campaign, claiming she believes 'he was a man of his time and was deeply racist'

Anne Barton, Sir Edmund’s great-granddaughter, has thrown her support behind the campaign, claiming she believes ‘he was a man of his time and was deeply racist’

Ms Barton said she understood why the petition was created and thinks it is time to reevaluate the location of the statue.  

‘I think there’s a principle here – if we look at the idea of authentic reconciliation, this needs to be part of that,’ Ms Barton told the ABC. 

‘It’s been our say – white settler’s society – about what we put up where, and it’s time I think to rethink that.’

Sir Edmund was a NSW politician before becoming prime minister and a founding member of the High Court. 

Ms Barton said she respected her great-grandfather, but recognised his involvement in the persecution of Indigenous Australians.

‘A lot of the people in the Black Lives Matter movement are talking about how police cannot see black people as humans – that’s what my great grandfather did – he and his mob.’    

His statue was unveiled in 2001 at the Town Green park in Port Macquarie on the mid-north coast of New South Wales – ten metres from a plaque recognising the area as containing an 1,800-year-old Aboriginal graveyard.  

Sir Edmund Barton (pictured) statue was erected in Port Macquarie in 2001

Sir Edmund Barton (pictured) statue was erected in Port Macquarie in 2001

Aboriginal activists started a petition to remove a monument of Sir Edmund from an Indigenous burial site in Port Macquarie on the mid-north coast of NSW

Aboriginal activists started a petition to remove a monument of Sir Edmund from an Indigenous burial site in Port Macquarie on the mid-north coast of NSW

Local woman Arly Mehan, who created the petition, said the statue had always been an issue in her family and was ‘ not appropriate’.

In the petition, Ms Mehan said the monument is ‘offensive’ and representative of the fact that ‘Port Macquarie is not a culturally inclusive town’.

‘Edmund Barton was representative for ‘White Australia’, and this is linked to contemporary inequitable ideologies and racism.’

The petition has garnered over 4,000 signatures and will be tabled at the local council’s meeting on July 1.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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