QLD_CP_NEWS_UNI_HOSPTAL_31OCT18
QLD_CP_NEWS_UNI_HOSPTAL_31OCT18

What BLM movement could mean for Captain Cook statue

THE Black Lives Matter movement has reignited the debate over monuments to controversial historical figures, including Cairns' prominent Captain Cook statue.

Amid the many equality issues the global movement has highlighted, the focus has turned to figures from colonial history.

Protests in the US have led to the toppling of Confederate statues, while protesters in the UK tore down the statue of a slave trader in Bristol.

The Captain Cook statue on Sheridan St PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
The Captain Cook statue on Sheridan St PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

In Cairns, where a Black Lives Matter protest on Sunday attracted a crowd of thousands, there have been calls to get rid of the Captain Cook statue on Sheridan St.

The move to take down the statue has garnered support on social media, with one tweet backing its removal attracting over 2000 likes.

Indigenous leader Terry O'Shane said, while he didn't have an issue with Cook or the statue, there needed to be a recognition of both sides of history.

 

"We've got to think more about how we acknowledge our history," he said.

"I'm a mariner myself and I think Lt James Cook was a great mariner, but there's got to be a positive recognition of first nations sites.

"It should be recognised in all our textbooks that if you're Australian, you've got a history that predates Cook by thousands of years, and you should embrace it."

Hitting the streets in Cairns in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Picture: PETER CARRUTHERS
Hitting the streets in Cairns in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Picture: PETER CARRUTHERS

"People are waking up to the fact that there's no trust - you only have to look at Rio Tinto in Pilbara, who blasted sacred sites dating back 48,000 years."

Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said demanding to remove the statue would only push division between the protesters and the people they were trying to reach.

"Irrespective of what you think of Captain Cook, it's privately owned and the landholder will make his own decisions," he said.

The statue was erected to stand outside the Captain Cook Motel in 1972.

It is owned by Cock & Bull owner Graham Johnston, who refused to comment.

Originally published as What BLM movement could mean for Cairns statue


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