A new memorial for Captain Cook will be built at Sydney’s Botany Bay to commemorate the arrival of the first colonizers from Europe in Australia. Last year, the statue of Captain Cook in Hyde Park and another one featuring former New South Wales governor Lachlan Macquarie were vandalized with graffiti.
The statue is estimated to cost $3 Million and will be part of a planned $50 Million redevelopment of the area. The budget will include the establishment of a museum, café, ferry wharves and a centre for visitors. Sydney envisions the project to present the area as a semi-aquatic precinct.
The announcement was made by Sydney Treasurer Scott Morrison who likewise explained that the Captain Cook memorial will feature distinctly Indigenous elements. The objective is to create a better understanding of the two cultures in relation to the history of Australia:
“It would be implemented in a sensitive way but one that in no way stepped back from acknowledging the national significance of that day almost 250 years ago.”
The original Captain Cook statue at Hyde Park had been defaced with graffiti that proclaimed “No pride in genocide”. It had been criticized by many Australians for being factually incorrect by stating that Cook had discovered Australia.
There is a good majority of Australians who also share the opinion that the arrival of the British should not be celebrated because it had led to the eventual slaughter of many of Australia’s indigenous people.
Macquarie’s statue incensed more nationalists because during the April 1816 Appin Massacre, the former governor commanded the soldiers that Indigenous people should be “hanged up on trees in conspicuous situations to strike the survivors with the greater terror.”
Mark Speakman, Attorney General for New South Wales, said the new Captain Cook memorial will be internally funded by the Commonwealth and NSW governments which would qualify it as “a very inclusive project”.
Speakman hopes that the memorial will propagate a singular understanding and appreciation of Australian history:
“This is a site of major international significance and I hope what we’re doing at Kurnell will be a chance for Australians to commemorate many layers of Australian history.”