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Controversial Colonial-Era Statue of William Crowther Toppled in Hobart’s Franklin Square

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A significant incident unfolded in Hobart‘s CBD as the contentious colonial-era statue paying tribute to former premier William Crowther was vandalised and taken down from its prominent position in Franklin Square.

Discovered face down on the ground next to its plinth, the statue was severed through the ankles, accompanied by graffiti messages “What goes around” and “decolonize” sprayed on the plinth.

The defacing occurred mere hours before the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s decision on the statue’s removal was due.

Hobart City Councillor Louise Elliot, who had earlier reported graffiti on the statue and noticed the cuts, expressed disappointment in the lack of protective measures in place to prevent such an act.

Michael Stretton, the council’s chief executive, condemned the destruction and confirmed an investigation was underway.

A day prior to the toppling, a failed attempt was made to saw off the statue’s ankles, indicating premeditated actions.

Despite criticisms of the statue’s removal, Deputy Premier Michael Ferguson stressed that resorting to vandalism was not the appropriate way to address historical injustices.

In a subsequent decision following the statue’s toppling, the tribunal upheld the council’s initial choice to remove it, paving the way for a temporary sign to replace the statue.

The statue, which was cast in honor of William Crowther, the premiership notoriously remembered for mutilating the body of Aboriginal man William Lanne, has been a focal point of controversy for many years.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, led by campaign manager Nala Mansell, has long advocated for the statue’s removal, citing its painful historical significance to the Aboriginal community.

Rachel Adams

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