Vandals Topple Statue of Controversial Tasmanian Premier Amid Removal Ruling

A controversial colonial-era statue of former Tasmanian premier William Crowther in Hobart's Franklin Square was vandalized and toppled overnight, just hours before a tribunal ruled in favor of its permanent removal due to Crowther's role in mutilating an Aboriginal man's body in 1869. The statue's removal marks a significant moment in Hobart's reckoning with its colonial past and the ongoing impact on Tasmania's Aboriginal community." This description focuses on the primary topic (the vandalized statue), main entities (William Crowther, Franklin Square, Hobart, and the Tasmanian Aboriginal community), context (Hobart's colonial past and its impact on the Aboriginal community), and significant actions (vandalism and tribunal ruling). It also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as the statue's location and the context of its removal.

author-image
Trim Correspondents
New Update
Vandals Topple Statue of Controversial Tasmanian Premier Amid Removal Ruling

Vandals Topple Statue of Controversial Tasmanian Premier Amid Removal Ruling

In a dramatic turn of events, vandals have cut down a controversial colonial-era statue of former Tasmanian premier William Crowther in Hobart's Franklin Square. The incident occurred overnight, just hours before the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (TASCAT) ruled in favor of permanently removing the statue due to Crowther's role in mutilating an Aboriginal man's body in 1869.

Why this matters: This incident highlights the ongoing struggle for reconciliation and recognition of past injustices towards Indigenous communities, and serves as a reminder of the need for accountability and truth-telling in addressing historical wrongs. The removal of the statue and the subsequent reactions also underscore the importance of confronting and learning from the dark aspects of colonial history.

The statue was found face-down on the ground, with its legs cut through and its plinth graffitied in red with the words "decolonize" and "what goes around". This act of vandalism has sparked strong reactions from both sides of the heated debate surrounding the statue's fate.

The controversy stems from Crowther's actions in 1869, when he broke into a Hobart morgue, removed the skull of Aboriginal man William Lanne, and sent it to the Royal College of Surgeons in London. Indigenous groups have long campaigned for the statue's removal, citing the pain and hurt it causes.

In 2022, the Hobart City Council voted to remove the statue, but the decision was appealed through TASCAT. The tribunal dismissed the appeal on Wednesday morning, noting that the removal would have a "positive resulting impact". Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds expressed disappointment at the vandalism, stating, "This is a very important decision for Hobart's commitment to truth telling, telling the truth of our colonial history."

The council plans to reunite the statue's feet with the rest of the statue and preserve it in a respectful manner. A temporary sign will replace the statue, detailing its history, including the story of Crowther and Lanne. Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre campaign manager Nala Mansell welcomed the removal, saying, "We would have loved to have seen it removed a long time ago. We no longer have to have that reminder .... of the hurtful and degrading actions of people like William Crowther. "

This is not the first time the statue has been targeted. In 2021, it was painted red and draped in an Aboriginal flag, and in 2023, it was again painted red and vandalized with yellow spray paint reading "no pride in genocide". The vandalism and subsequent removal ruling mark a significant moment in Hobart's reckoning with its colonial past and the ongoing impact on Tasmania's Aboriginal community.

Key Takeaways

  • Vandals cut down a colonial-era statue of William Crowther in Hobart's Franklin Square.
  • Crowther mutilated an Aboriginal man's body in 1869, sparking Indigenous groups' calls for removal.
  • TASCAT ruled in favor of permanently removing the statue due to Crowther's past actions.
  • The statue's removal is seen as a step towards reconciliation and recognition of past injustices.
  • A temporary sign will replace the statue, detailing its history and the story of Crowther and Lanne.