Remove the statue of Captain Cook from public view in Bendigo

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At the front of St Paul's Cathedral in Bendigo, displayed prominently, is a statue of Captain James Cook. We are calling for its removal from public view. 

Australia is home to the oldest living culture in the world. However, Captain Cook came to this country and claimed New South Wales for the King of England without the consent or agreement of the Indigenous peoples. I am of the belief, as are many others in this country and around the world, that Captain Cook’s arrival marked the start of the genocide and mistreatment of the Indigenous peoples of this land, which we are still working to end today. 

To have such a figure on display in our city is an embarrassment and undermines other positive steps towards reconciliation. 

The statue should not be displayed and celebrated publicly on Myers Street outside St Paul’s Cathedral. However, we do not call for its destruction. It is important that we do not erase the mistakes of the past. Rather, the statue should be archived and stored appropriately by the Anglican Diocese. This will allow us to remember and learn from the time in history where figures of colonisation such as James Cook were commemorated and celebrated. This celebration is inherently wrong. It is now time to move forward.

If the Anglican Diocese is to truly continue serving its community, publicly supporting the traditional owners of this land is a positive step forward. Tolerance, respect, and equality are all values that the Church strives to uphold. St Paul’s Cathedral should, therefore, take action in line with these values by removing the statue from public view.

We live, work, and profit off stolen lands. Showing solidarity and respect is just one of the many ways we can start to ‘pay the rent’.