• Iconic statues have been vandalised in Sydney's CBD as the Jan 26 debate continues. (Channel 7)Source: Channel 7
Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, has said it may be time to consider if inscriptions on a memorial to Captain James Cook in Hyde Park is appropriate.
Jarni Blakkarly

28 Aug 2017 - 10:51 AM  UPDATED 28 Aug 2017 - 3:58 PM

The comments come after a week of vigorous debate over the inscriptions on a number of statues in Sydney. The conversation re-ignited on the weekend, when the Captain Cook memorial and Lachlan Macquarie in Sydney’s CBD were vandalized with graffiti that read ‘Change the date’ and ‘No pride in genocide’.

“I don’t agree with the graffiti on the statues, those statues are a part of our history,” Ms Moore told ABC’s Radio National.

She did however suggest it might be time to re-assess certain aspects of the memorials.

“I think we can consider whether or not the inscriptions are appropriate or whether other inscriptions can also go on the statue that might reflect our 21st century perspective, where we acknowledge the original custodians of this land,” she said.

“We aren’t changing things... we are adding to them. Telling the story."

Last week Indigenous broadcaster Stan Grant called for the inscription on the Captain Cook statue in Hyde Park to be changed, saying the statement that Cook had ‘discovered’ Australia was a damaging lie.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, speaking on Sydney radio said he didn’t see any need to change the statues but agreed later Captain Cook didn’t discover Australia.

Following the vandalism of the statues, the Prime Minister said on a Facebook post, that the graffiti was a part of a “deeply disturbing and totalitarian campaign” and likened it to the actions of former dictator Joseph Stalin.

“When he fell out with his henchmen he didn’t just execute them, they were removed from all official photographs - they became non-persons, banished not just from life’s mortal coil but from memory and history itself. Tearing down or defacing statues of our colonial era explorers and governors is not much better than that,” Mr Turnbull wrote.

But Ms Moore said that while there would be no rush to change the statues, a conversation about the appropriate inscriptions was an important conversation that needed to be had.

“If we are talking about the date of Australia day or about how we understand our history from our perspective here in 2017, it needs to be a national discussion. And I think it is a very important discussion in terms of reconciliation,” Ms Moore said.

Ms Moore pointed to the addition of the bullet sculptures to Indigenous diggers already in Hyde Park as an example of how new memorials could better tell the Aboriginal story of Sydney.

“We aren’t changing things in Hyde Park, we are adding to them. Telling the story and this is what our community has told us they want us to do,” Ms Moore said.

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