Posted on January 25, 2024

Two Monuments Symbolizing Australia’s Colonial Past Damaged by Protesters Ahead of Polarizing Holiday

Associated Press, January 25, 2024

Two monuments symbolizing Australia’s colonial past were damaged by protesters on Thursday ahead of an increasingly polarizing national holiday that marks the anniversary of British settlement.

A statue in Melbourne of British naval officer James Cook, who in 1770 charted Sydney’s coast, was sawn off at the ankles, while a Queen Victoria monument in the city’s Queen Victoria Gardens was doused in red paint.

Images posted on social media showed the body of the Cook statue lying on the ground with the words “The colony will fall” spray-painted on the stone plinth where the statue formerly stood.

Australia Day, held each year on Jan. 26, commemorates the anniversary of British settlement in 1788. {snip}

For many Indigenous activists, Australia Day is known as “Invasion Day” as it marked the beginning of a sustained period of discrimination and dispossession of Indigenous peoples without the negotiation of a treaty. {snip}