Sydney Statue Defaced in Anzac Day Protest
Sarah Keoghan, Sydney Morning Herald, April 25, 2023
A community in Sydney’s north-west is angry after a statue was defaced with red paint ahead of a local Anzac Day dawn service.
The Lachlan Macquarie statue in Windsor’s McQuade Park was doused in red paint and handprints alongside the phrases “here stands a mass murderer who ordered the genocide” and “no pride in genocide”.
Mayor Sarah McMahon said she was alerted to the incident after the dawn service and said upon inspection, the paint was still “significantly wet”. “To me, it had been done quite recently,” she said. “I am really saddened there are members of our community out there that think this is the appropriate way to get their message across.”
McMahon arranged for council staff to clean the statue and police were also called to the scene.
“We are a military community here in the Hawkesbury and to have this done on a day of such national and local significance to me is appalling,” she said. “I expect the police will do their job thoroughly.”
Police said initial inquiries indicated the vandalism occurred between the hours of 6am and 7am.
An investigation has been launched and anyone with CCTV, dashcam footage or information is urged to contact police.
Local resident Tim Kelly took to Facebook to share an image of the defaced statue, receiving hundreds of horrified comments in response. “The day was about our servicemen, not about any other agenda,” he said. “Everyone is absolutely disgusted.”
“This vandalism is a cowardly and gutless act on a day when we are united in honouring the country’s heroes who fought and died for our freedom,” she said. “It is divisive and disrespectful.”
The statue has been the target of protests before. In 2017, the statue was graffitied with the words “murderer” as part of an Australia Day protest.
Monument Australia, an organisation that records monuments throughout Australia, states on its website the statue was commissioned during the bicentenary celebrations in 1994 of European settlement in the Hawkesbury.
“There is controversy around Macquarie’s treatment of Indigenous people,” the website states.
“In April 1816, Macquarie ordered soldiers under his command to kill or capture any Aboriginal people they encountered during a military operation aimed at creating a sense of terror. At least 14 men, women and children were brutally killed, some shot, others driven over a cliff.”