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A 110-year-old Captain Cook statue in a Melbourne park has been cut at the ankles and toppled off its stone base just hours before Australia Day.

The bronze statue in St Kilda’s Catani Gardens was cut from its stone base shortly before 3.30am on Thursday.

Vandals spray painted ‘the colony will fall’ in red on the memorial base and left the statue hacked off at its ankles – lying face down in the grass.

Workers have arrived at the park in Jacka Boulevard to take away the broken statue using a crane and to wash off the graffiti ahead of Australia Day.

The base of the statue was covered in shattered glass and one of the stone steps was torn off.

The statue has been in the park for 110 years and is believed to be the oldest major memorial in Victoria honouring British explorer Captain James Cook.

A 117-year-old monument in Queen Victoria Gardens in the Melbourne CBD was also splattered in red paint in a separate incident on Thursday morning.

Captain Cook statue is sawn down in Melbourne with the words ‘the colony will fall’ sprayed in red on the plinth just hours before Australia Day

A Captain Cook memorial was vandalised at a park in St Kilda early Thursday morning

Workers arrived on Thursday morning to remove and take away the broken bronze statue

Workers arrived on Thursday morning to remove and take away the broken bronze statue 

Workers spent several hours trying to remove the red paint from the vandalised statue

Workers spent several hours trying to remove the red paint from the vandalised statue

The same message, ‘the colony will fall,’ was scrawled at the bottom of the statue of Queen Victoria, leaving a major clean-up job for workers.

Vandals also left several cans of paint behind. 

The Queen Victoria statue, unveiled on Empire Day in 1907.

Australia Day, observed each year on January 26, marks the landing of the First Fleet in 1788 when the first governor of the British colony of Arthur Philip, hoisted the Union Jack at Sydney Cove.

But, for many First Nations people, the date is regarded as ‘Invasion Day’ or the ‘Day of Mourning,’ with ‘Invasion Day’ protests scheduled to take place in major cities on Friday.

Police have launched an investigation to track down the culprits responsible for the incidents. 

Political and community leaders called out the vandalism.

‘Captain Cook was a man of the enlightenment. Why would they do this to I think a great human being,’ Liberal MP Angus Taylor told the Today show on Thursday.

‘It’s another one of those acts that frankly, everyone should condemn.’

A monument in Queen Victoria Gardens in the Melbourne CBD was also vandalised on Thursday in a second incident

A monument in Queen Victoria Gardens in the Melbourne CBD was also vandalised on Thursday in a second incident

Red paint was splattered all over the statue of Queen Victoria (pictured)

Red paint was splattered all over the statue of Queen Victoria (pictured)

The vandals left cans of paint behind following the early morning attacks

The vandals left cans of paint behind following the early morning attacks

The statue of Captain James Cook in St Kilda was left dumped on the ground near the vandalised base

The statue of Captain James Cook in St Kilda was left dumped on the ground near the vandalised base

Port Phillip councillor Marcus Pearl called for the vandals to be hunted down and held to account for their actions.

‘This is not a solitary act of mischief,’ he said in a statement.

‘It’s a repeated pattern of disrespect, especially evident around Australia Day for the past six years. 

‘Such acts blatantly disregard our community’s hard-fought principles of debate and democratic expression.’

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan said the vandalism of the statues had ‘no place in our community’.

‘We’ll be working with council to repair and reinstate the statue in St Kilda,’ she said.

The Captain Cook statue has been a frequent target for vandals in recent years.

The statue had red paint thrown over it over three consecutive days in 2022 as part of an Australia Day protest and was previously vandalised in 2020 and 2018.

Several people were seen loitering in the area around the time of the incident.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

The statue was built in 1914 to commemorate Captain James Cook, a British explorer who made the first recorded European contact with Australia’s east coast on April 29, 1770. 

The same Captain Cook monument in St Kilda was splattered with red paint in 2022 (pictured)

The same Captain Cook monument in St Kilda was splattered with red paint in 2022 (pictured)

Dr Bella d’Abrera, Director of the Institute of Public Affairs’ Foundations of Western Civilisation Program said Australians would be rightfully outraged.

‘Far more Australians love their country and its national day, than there are activists who seek to tear down our history,’ he said in a statement.

‘The vandalism this morning underscores the ignorance of those who want to cancel Australia Day. Captain Cook had been dead for nearly ten years before the First Fleet arrived on 26 January 1788.’

‘Captain Cook was one of the greatest explorers who ever lived and today there is still much to learn from his legacy.’

‘Research shows that in the past five years, less than one-in-five Australians want to change the date of Australia Day. It’s always noisy minority who are intent on trying to cancel mainstream Australians and stop us from celebrating our wonderful country.’

‘January 26 is more than just a date, it represents the establishment of modern Australia as a free and fair country, it rightly should be celebrated. Mainstream Australians understand that cancelling Australia Day is an assault on the Australian way of life.’



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