An alleged act of protest in Australia has resulted in the destruction of a statue of Captain James Cook that is one hundred years old and the painting of a monument to Queen Victoria with red paint.
An inquiry is currently being conducted by the police into the late-night vandalism that took place in Melbourne on the nights before Australia Day.
The festival that is celebrated on January 26th is the celebration of the landing of the First Fleet of the United Kingdom in Sydney Cove in 1788, which marked the beginning of the colonial era.
The phrase "The colony shall fall" was written by the vandals on the plinth of the Cook statue.
The "criminal damage" that was done to both memorials, according to the police, occurred in the early hours of Thursday morning.
It has been established that the statue of Cook was cut off at the ankles using a saw. According to a statement released by the Victoria Police Department, "around the time of the incident, a number of individuals were observed loitering in the vicinity."
His trip from 1768 to 1771, during which he mapped the east coast of Australia, is commemorated by the monument that was built in 1914. It is one of the oldest monuments in Australia that honours the British explorer.
On or around January 26th, it has a history of being vandalised to varying degrees. While in 2022 it was covered in red paint, in 2018 it was graffitied with the words "no pride" and an Aboriginal flag was placed next to it. Both of these incidents occurred in the same year.
As stated by Jacinta Allan, the Premier of Victoria, the vandalism that was committed to both monuments has "no place in our community."
As an additional point of interest, she stated that she will be working with municipal to repair and reinstate the statue in St. Kilda, referring to the suburb in which it is situated.
There is also work being done to clean the Queen Victoria memorial, which is located in the middle of the city.
Heather Cunsolo, the mayor of Port Phillip, expressed her non-compliance with the destruction of a public asset, the financial burden of which would ultimately fall on ratepayers. However, she acknowledged the diversity of viewpoints pertaining to Australia Day.
She stated that her council had made arrangements for a security guard to secure the Cook statue on Thursday, but their arrival was delayed since the event occurred before they were supposed to arrive.
According to opinion polls, over sixty percent of Australians are in favour of commemorating Australia Day on January 26.
The celebration of a date that commemorates the theft of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands and the dislocation of these people from their culture is, however, deemed inappropriate by a significant number of Indigenous Australians and other individuals.
There has been an increase in the number of people who are boycotting the festival known as "Invasion Day" in the recent years.