An iconic statue of Captain James Cook was attacked by vandals along with two other monuments early on Saturday morning.
Police have set up crime scenes in Sydney’s Hyde Park after statues of Cook, Governor Lachlan Macquarie and Queen Victoria were sprayed with political slogans.
The Archibald Memorial Fountain, and ANZAC Memorial were also believed to be damaged, but clean-up crews had removed most of the graffiti by 12pm.
An iconic statue of Captain James Cook (pictured) was attacked by vandals along with two other monuments early on Saturday morning
A statue of former NSW governor Lachlan Macquarie (pictured) was also targeted by vandals
The statue (pictured) was spray-painted with political slogans referring to the debate over the date of Australia Day
The vandalism spree follows fierce public debate about whether inscriptions on statues of Cook should be changed because they celebrate the Englishman’s ‘discovery’ of Australia and ignore Aborigines’ occupation of the land prior to that.
Police are investigating ‘a number of incidents of malicious damage’ in the park, believed to have happened between 2am and 3am on Saturday.
‘Three crime scenes have been established throughout the park and inquiries are continuing,’ said a spokeswoman.
The words ‘change the date’ and ‘no pride in genocide’ were spray-painted on the Captain Cook statue, with similar words scrawled on that of Lachlan Macquarie.
A statue of Queen Victoria (pictured) was painted with the words ‘F***ing bow down’ early on Saturday morning
Clean-up crews were on the scene shortly before noon on Saturday morning to remove the paint (pictured)
The statue of Queen Victoria was defaced with the words ‘F***ing bow down’.
The graffiti attack comes just days after indigenous broadcaster Stan Grant called for the inscription on the Cook statue to be changed.
‘The inscription that Cook “Discovered this territory 1770” maintains a damaging myth, a belief in the superiority of white Christendom that devastated Indigenous peoples everywhere,’ he wrote in an opinion column for the ABC.
But Malcolm Turnbull, weighing into the debate on Friday, said Grant was ‘dead wrong’.
The Archibald Memorial Fountain, and ANZAC Memorial were also believed to be damaged, but clean-up crews had removed most of the graffiti by 12pm (pictured)
The graffiti (pictured) attack comes just days after indigenous broadcaster Stan Grant called for the inscription on the Cook statue be changed
‘All of those statues (pictured), all of those monuments, are part of our history and we should respect them and preserve them,’
The prime minister said the vast majority of Australians would share his horror at the thought of ‘rewriting history’ by editing the inscriptions on statues.
‘All of those statues, all of those monuments, are part of our history and we should respect them and preserve them,’ he told Neil Mitchell on 3AW radio.
‘By all means, put up other monuments, put up other signs and sites that explain our history.’
He denounced such a ‘Stalinist exercise’ of trying to white out or obliterate parts of Australia’s history.
‘You don’t rewrite history by editing stuff out. If you want to write a new chapter of our history, if you want to challenge assumptions in the past, by all means do so,’ he said.
The graffiti attack comes just days after indigenous broadcaster Stan Grant (pictured) called for the inscription on the Cook statue – saying he ‘discovered’ the territory in 1770 – be changed
Calls to pull down a number of Sydney monuments honouring key figures in Australian history have been slammed as ‘taliban-like’
A City of Sydney spokeswoman said the council was also cleaning up graffiti that appeared overnight in Martin Place and Macquarie Street.
‘Sites affected include the Archibald Memorial Fountain, ANZAC Memorial and statues including the Captain James Cook statue,’ she told AAP.
‘NSW Police have completed forensic work and City cleaning crews have commenced work to remove the unlawful graffiti.’
Statues of Captain Cook and Arthur Phillip have come under scrutiny because of their association with the ‘discovering’ of Australia.
But suggestions to remove the monuments have been met with resistance from Shooters and Fishers MP Robert Borsak, who labelled the idea as ‘Taliban-like’.
Aboriginal leader Warren Mundine, suggested a continued push to rectify history to a ‘Stalinist approach’
Aboriginal leader Warren Mundine suggested a continued push to rectify history was a ‘Stalinist approach’.
‘What’s going to be next? Are they going to tear down the Anzac memorials in every municipal park in Australia?’ Mr Borsak asked the The Daily Telegraph.
Stan Grant’s comments will be submitted to Mayor Clover Moore for consideration.
‘The Lord Mayor has referred Stan Grant’s comments to the City of Sydney’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory panel for their consideration and advice,’ Ms Moore’s spokesman said.
Yet several public figures have spoken out regarding the suggestions to edit or remove the iconic landmarks.
The idea was brought to public attention when indigenous ABC journalist Stan Grant hit out at the wording chosen on the base of Cook’s statue which says the British explorer ‘discovered this territory in 1770.’
‘The City of Sydney should focus on working for its ratepayers and not rewriting history,’ Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton said.
Liberal Upper House MP Peter Phelps said men such as Cook and Phillip should be lauded as icons.
‘Attempts to rewrite our public history for the sake of political correctness — which is what these activist want to do — is little better than Stalin erasing his political opponent from photographs.’
Mr Mundine was in agreement who instead suggested for a different approach, erecting monuments to indigenous people.
‘All this nonsense about changing things — we cannot look back at history with our modern minds otherwise we would have to tear down the pyramids because they were built by slaves,’ said Mr Mundine.
A statue of Arthur Phillip, the first governor of NSW has also been attacked as comments will be submitted to Mayor Clover Moore for consideration