Debate is swirling on whether or not a sawed-down Captain James Cook dinner statue ought to return to a Victorian park, with one native councillor pushing for the group to have their say.
The 115-year-old Captain Cook dinner statue at Catani Gardens in St Kilda made headlines final week after it was defected on the eve of Australia Day.
Vandals hacked the steel statue off its stone base and spray-painted it with the phrases: “The colony will fall”.
The incident occurred on the identical morning a big monument at Queen Victoria Gardens was vandalised with crimson paint.
In response, Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan supplied to assist restore the heritage monument, which was initially funded by non-public donations.
Nevertheless, councillors aren’t seeing eye-to-eye, with Labor-aligned Port Phillip councillor Robbie Nyaguy planning to name for a group session on whether or not the statue needs to be reinstated in a movement at Wednesday’s council assembly.
“(The Captain Cook dinner statue) was lower down by vandals simply earlier than the 26 of January in an act of vandalism which our council condemned,” Mr Nyaguy stated in a video on Fb on Saturday.
“The vital query now’s whether or not we put this statue again.”
Mr Nyaguy stated he’s additionally calling for data on the price of restoring the statue and its ongoing safety.
Chatting with information.com.au, the councillor stated Australia must be “extra sober” about our historical past, and the group wants to return collectively to have a dialog.
“Moderately than letting a few vandals within the evening write our conversations about how we reply to historical past. Let’s [respond] in a mature method and have a dialog.”
“I believe we have to replicate on the truth that the statute was put in that location 100 years in the past … as a part of the nationwide myth-building across the discovery of Australia – the truth that this empty land was discovered within the southern hemisphere – which is in the end unfaithful.”
Mr Nyaguy stated the cash to reinstate the statue might be put in direction of different initiatives within the midst of the nation’s present housing and local weather disaster.
“There’s numerous challenges that we in making an attempt to ship for our group. I believe it’s vital, earlier than we spend a big sum of money on a statue, that we all know whether or not that’s really one thing that our group need us to do.”
He stated the destruction of the stature has sparked a blended response among the many group within the Port Phillip space, the place Cook dinner by no means visited.
“Once I was down there in the present day (Saturday), a person stated that he thought the individuals who vandalised it needs to be hung.”
Nevertheless, Mr Nyaguy stated he is aware of of “many” others locally who’ve exhibited a extra light-hearted response, merely laughing it off.
“Totally different individuals connect completely different bits of significance to historical past. If a chunk of historical past that I used to be significantly invested in was broken, I’d additionally really feel that sort of bereavement.”
Whereas he stated he’s personally towards the statue being reinstated, he pressured he isn’t trying to “cancel” historical past.
“Historical past is in textbooks, it’s taught in school rooms, it’s talked about in communities. However the objective of the statue, in the end, is to focus on and have fun historical past, and once I replicate upon the legacy of James Cook dinner, I don’t assume that’s the sort of factor that needs to be our central focus to focus on and have fun.”
As a substitute, he want to see one of many nation’s “many unbelievable” figures honoured within the type of a stature, equivalent to Aussie sailor Jessica Watson, who grew to become the youngest particular person to sail solo and unassisted around the globe.
Nevertheless, Mr Nyaguy’s movement round group session has been slammed by fellow councillor Marcus Pearl, who argues it “neglects the significance of historic context and the necessity for a balanced understanding of our heritage”.
“The movement proposed by Councillor Nyaguy to reassess the way forward for the Captain Cook dinner statue is a veiled try and undermine the cultural heritage of our group,” Mr Pearl advised information.com.au in an announcement.
“The motions seeks to unnecessarily divide our group and disrespect the broader historic significance.”
He additionally famous the “discrepancy” between Mr Nyaguy’s stance and Premier Allan.
“The Labor Premier has publicly supported the reinstatement of the Captain Cook dinner statue, aligning with a imaginative and prescient that respects our collective historical past and heritage.”
“We should stand towards vandalism and for the rule of regulation, making certain our public areas and historic markers are revered.”
Mr Nyaguy’s movement shall be mentioned by the council on Wednesday.