NEWS Cook stat­ues pro­tected

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS - AN­NIKA SMETHURST

VAN­DALS caught at­tack­ing his­toric stat­ues of Cap­tain Cook will face hefty fines and up to seven years in jail un­der a rad­i­cal plan to put some of Aus­tralia’s old­est mon­u­ments on the Na­tional Her­itage List.

In a bold move de­signed to de­ter would-be van­dals, the Turn­bull gov­ern­ment has asked the Her­itage Coun­cil to con­sider plac­ing sev­eral mon- uments and stat­ues of Cap­tain Cook – erected more than a cen­tury ago – on its reg­is­ter.

The move will pro­vide greater pro­tec­tions for some of Aus­tralia’s old­est mon­u­ments with van­dals fac­ing fines of more than $88,000 and seven years in jail.

Un­der the plan the Cap­tain James Cook statue in Syd­ney’s Hyde Park, which was re­cently de­faced, and a sand­stone statue in Rand­wick built in 1874 would be given pro­tec­tion.

The gov­ern­ment has also asked the Her­itage Coun­cil to con­sider adding a 1914 statue of Cap­tain Cook in St Kilda’s Catani Gardens in Mel­bourne and a 1888 mon­u­ment in Cook­town north of Cairns, to the reg­is­ter. En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Josh Fry­den­berg will also ask the coun­cil to rec­om­mend any other his­toric stat­ues of ex­plor­ers, set­tlers or in­dige­nous fig­ures to the Na­tional Her­itage List.

The move comes just weeks af­ter a num­ber of mon­u­ments across Syd­ney’s CBD were at­tacked by van­dals, in­clud­ing a statue of for­mer NSW gover­nor Lach­lan Mac­quarie and Cap­tain Cook in Hyde Park.

The words “change the date” and “no pride in geno­cide” were spray-painted on the stat­ues.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull told the Sun­day Ter­ri­to­rian the gov­ern­ment would “not stand by and al­low van- dals to re­write or tear down our his­tory”.

“We should be proud of our na­tion’s re­mark­able Aus­tralian story, not em­bar­rassed by it; we should em­brace it, not oblit­er­ate it,” Mr Turn­bull said.

The gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day an­nounced Ka­may Botany Bay Na­tional Park in Syd­ney’s south – home to Cap­tain Cook’s land­ing site – will be the 112th site on the Na­tional Her­itage List.

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