NEWS Cook statues protected
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.