Captain Cook Statue Vandalised in Australia Day Protests

By Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang is a health writer for The Epoch Times, based in New York. She mainly covers stories on COVID-19 and the healthcare system and has a bachelors in biomedicine from The University of Melbourne. Contact her at
January 26, 2022Updated: January 26, 2022

Statues of Captain James Cook, the first British explorer to discover Australia, have been vandalised with red spray paint in an act of protest on the eve of the country’s national day, Australia Day.

The statue of James Cook, a British explorer who chartered the Eastern Coast of Australia and claimed the land for Great Britain in 1770 was spray-painted in red with posters encouraging Aussie’s to boycott Australia Day stuck on it.

Victorian Police Assistant Commissioner Glen Weir said the act of vandalism “was really disappointing.”

“Whilst we understand people have certain views about this day, we always ask people to be respectful and blatant criminal activity like that will not be tolerated,” he told Channel Nine.

The statue has been a popular target for vandals in recent years, with the most recent vandal in 2019 on Australia Day. In 2021, security guards were employed to protect the statue.

The Mayor of Port Phillip, Marcus Pearl said he’s “a bit disappointed” by what was done to the statue.

“We had a very beautiful, respectful service with our traditional land owners this morning, and that was a fitting occasion I thought, and then to come down and see this, personally I was a bit disappointed,” he said on the 3AW radio show.

“We like to focus on the traditions that bring our community together, not moving us apart.”

Epoch Times Photo
Workers wash off red paint that was poured on a statue of Captain Cook at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 26, 2022. (Diego Fedele/Getty Images)

Another Captain Cook statue in Edinburgh Gardens, in the inner Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy North, was also covered in red paint overnight.

The acts of vandalism come as Indigenous Australians held mourning ceremonies around the country drawing hundreds of attendees after numerous Indigenous Australian advocacy groups noted that Australia day celebrates a date that symbolises an invasion of their land.

“For Aboriginal People, this day marks the start of sustained violence and trauma that continues through the generations. An intrusion on Country, on our Peoples, on Culture, that will continue as a scar on our Peoples’ wellbeing forever,” the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council wrote in a statement.

However, despite the growing media coverage of the Indigenous advocates’ message polling of Australians over changing the date of the national day has shown a growing majority of Australians do not think changing the date is important with a Roy Morgan poll showed 65 per cent believe Jan. 26 should be considered as Australia Day. This is an increase of 6 percent from 2021.

Meanwhile, in Canberra, Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the 16,000 people becoming Australian citizens.

Speaking at the national flag-raising and citizenship ceremony in Canberra, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the day as one to look to the country’s future, while reflecting on the past.

“Today is a day for optimism and positivity about the great country we’re all blessed to live in,” he told reporters.

He applauded Australia as the world’s most “successful” multicultural nation and expressed thanks to new citizens for “great expressions of love for our country.”