• Push to correct an inscription on a Captain Cook statue claiming that the English explorer discovered Australia. (Getty)
A statue of Captain Cook in Sydney is at the centre of a new battle over Australia's history.
By
Laura Morelli

22 Aug 2017 - 6:42 PM  UPDATED 22 Aug 2017 - 10:19 PM

Indigenous broadcaster Stan Grant wants the inscription on a Captain Cook statue in Sydney's Hyde Park changed, claiming it's a damaging lie for Aboriginal people.

The inscription in Hyde Park says the English explorer discovered this territory, but Grant says it tells Aboriginal people that before 1770 they did not exist.

Statues of Confederate Generals are being removed in the US because of their association with slavery. In a column he wrote for ABC, The Wiradjuri man says he doesn't want the Cook statue removed, just corrected.

"Surely we need no longer maintain the fiction that he "discovered" this country. It dishonours the people who reached this continent 60,000 years before Cook."

"My ancestors were here when Cook dropped anchor. We know now that the first peoples of this continent had been here for at least 65,000 years, for us the beginning of human time," he wrote.

"Yet this statue speaks to emptiness, it speaks to our invisibility; it says that nothing truly mattered, nothing truly counted until a white sailor first walked on these shores."

He continues on by discussing the notion of heritage and hate, referring to how American history cast a 'dark shadow' across the country.

"Statues are coming down, old flags of division are being put away and the country is tearing itself apart."

He refers to numerous times where the world has witnessed America disgracing their people with white-hate groups, brutal invasion of the lands of First Nation people and slavery.

"Americans are tearing down the monuments to hate, but we remain oblivious to ours," he said.

"If America seeks to find what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature", we vanish into the "Great Australian Silence," he said.

Grant talks about how across Australia there are monuments to those who 'drove Aboriginal people from their lands' and that there are reminders of frontier battles that are still not taught being taught in schools across the nation.

"There is still no place on our War Memorial wall of remembrance for those Aboriginal people who died on our soil fighting to defend their country."

Grant instead asks that the statue remain, as he believes Cook is a big part of Australia's history, however that the facts about Australia's black past are revealed and the facts state the truth.

"Surely we need no longer maintain the fiction that he "discovered" this country. It dishonours the people who reached this continent 60,000 years before Cook....This was not an empty land."

"Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, defending Australia Day this week, said it is also a day we honour Indigenous Australians."

"If he is serious then what could be more apt than to correct a monument that tells us, still, that in 1770 we did not exist?"

There have been mixed comments from Australians who have taken to social media to voice their concerns about this topic. 

It comes after a wave of discussion sweeps the nation, in efforts to push for change and move January 26 events to an "agreed date," one more inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents.

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES:
Stan Grant delivers impassioned on Indigenous rights in the wake of Don Dale mistreatment
"This week we know what Australia looks like. This week Australia is a boy in a hood in a cell. This week Australia is Aboriginal boys tear gassed, locked down and beaten."
Stan Grant's speech at suicide prevention conference: I'm prepared to let go of my memory of wounds - for liberty
'We are here today in the face of grief, sharing our stories to help lift our hearts again': The Point's Stan Grant addresses the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention conference in Alice Springs Friday, May 6, 2016.
Stan Grant: Australian and Aboriginal - the warrior who taught me how to be both
COMMENT | Today, I remember my grandfather, a Rat of Tobruk and a man who believed in his country, when it did not yet believe in him, writes Stan Grant.
Stan Grant: I am honoured to have been appointed to the Referendum Council
COMMENT | In 1901 the voices of Aboriginal people were not heard, this will not be the case in 2016, writes Stan Grant.