Indigenous journalist Narelda Jacobs weighs in on debate over destruction of ‘racist’ statues

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Indigenous journalist Narelda Jacobs has weighed in on the debate over the removal of “racist” historic statues.

Appearing on The Project on Tuesday night, Jacobs spoke about Hobart City Council’s decision to dismantle a statue of William Crowther, who removed the skull of Aboriginal man William Lanne in 1869 and sent it to London nine years before he becomes Prime Minister of Hobart.

Jacobs, 46, asked hosts Waleed Aly and Peter Helliar: “Who is this person and who deserves to be there the most?”

Indigenous journalist Narelda Jacobs has weighed in on the debate over the removal of ‘racist’ historic statues

“The scientific research that was conducted during this time is so overwhelming,” Jacobs added.

“There is an abundance of culture and an abundance of First Nations people in Lutruwita/Tasmania that is celebrated now, as it should have been then.”

“There are still fish traps that are thousands and thousands of years old, you know?” she added.

“When you talk about who is lower or higher, just look at the things that are still standing. The mounds, evidence of a very sophisticated culture and way of life that existed at that time.

“Then you look at a statue from the 1800s of a man who was prime minister for a year. And he practically built it himself, nobody else was going to build it for William Crowther.

Aly, Helliar and Stephens all agreed with Jacobs.

Monday night’s debate heated up over the subject of the removal of the statue in Tasmania.

Project co-host Steve Price said everyday Australians are happy that historical figures are being honored with statues and don’t want to see history “erased”.

But Carrie Bickmore lashed out at the conservative commentator, saying learning history means being able to make change.

“If they were erected by the public, maybe that public at the time didn’t have all the information,” she said.

Appearing on The Project on Tuesday night, Jacobs spoke about Hobart City Council's decision to dismantle a statue of William Crowther, who removed the skull of Aboriginal man William Lanne in 1869 and sent it to London nine years before he becomes Prime Minister of Hobart.

Appearing on The Project on Tuesday night, Jacobs spoke about Hobart City Council’s decision to dismantle a statue of William Crowther, who removed the skull of Aboriginal man William Lanne in 1869 and sent it to London nine years before he becomes Prime Minister of Hobart.

Price replied that “maybe they had all the information and things have changed, times have changed”.

Comedian Helliar also spoke on the controversial subject which has played out in the US, UK and Europe as younger generations debate whether statues of historical figures should stay if they are tarnished by racism or brutality .

“It doesn’t erase history at all,” Helliar said.

“It just means we’re not holding it up to be celebrated the way a statue invites you to.”

The Project co-hosts Carrie Bickmore (left) and Steve Price (right) have very different views on the removal of a controversial statue in Tasmania

The Project co-hosts Carrie Bickmore (left) and Steve Price (right) have very different views on the removal of a controversial statue in Tasmania

An excited Price said: “I think the agitators would have us tear down every statue of Captain Cook or get rid of every statue of Captain Phillip.”

He was referring to James Cook, who made the first recorded European contact with the east coast of Australia, and Arthur Phillip, who served as the first governor of the colony of New South Wales.

Aly said statues of historical figures are considered “specter”.

“The Crowther case is special, because of what he allegedly did,” he said.

The statue of William Crowther, who removed the skull of Aborigine William Lanne in 1869 and sent it to London nine years before he became Prime Minister of Tasmania, will be demolished

The statue of William Crowther, who removed the skull of Aborigine William Lanne in 1869 and sent it to London nine years before he became Prime Minister of Tasmania, will be demolished

“I think there are people out there who would say you have to go down, maybe Cook is a different thing… I would just be wary of saying you’re talking about monolithic views on all levels.”

Price replied that he didn’t like “erasing history…I’m very uncomfortable tearing down statues”.

Hobart City Council voted 7-4 on Monday evening to remove the statue from Franklin Square in the capital’s CBD after years of campaigning by Aboriginal groups.

Removing the sculpture from Franklin Square in Hobart’s CBD will cost around $20,000, but there are also plans to move it elsewhere.

The bronze statue, erected in 1889, has long been controversial in Hobart.

Indigenous activists hailed the decision to remove Mr Crowther’s statue, calling it ‘racist’ and ‘barbaric’.

The council estimates it will cost an additional $50,000 to install a new monument.

In 2021, an artist painted his head and hands red as part of a re-imagining of the statue, symbolizing the body part removed by Mr Crowther and that he had ‘blood on his hands’ due to mutilation.

The proposal was outlined in a Hobart council report which claimed that too many white men were being memorialized in the town and that there would be more “moving out”.

Council member Simon Behrakis attacked the plan as a “distraction with woke left-wing issues about working on solving problems that really affect the lives of Hobartians”.

A row has erupted over 'woke' plans to remove the statue of disgraced Australian colonial politician William Crowther who mutilated the corpse of an Aborigine

A row has erupted over ‘woke’ plans to remove the statue of disgraced Australian colonial politician William Crowther who mutilated the corpse of an Aborigine

“It’s important that we acknowledge all aspects of the story, including the bad sides. It’s not the same as sanitizing or censoring the story,’ he said in a previous article on the statue on social networks.

Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council chairman Michael Mansell, who has been one of the most vocal critics of the William Crowther statue, said plans to move it elsewhere were “illogical”.

“If the reason you’re tearing down a statue is because what the person did was so offensive, you can’t put it in any other context because people will remember what that guy stood for,” he said. he declares.

“Cutting up corpses just because they’re Aboriginal and treating them like fair game, (like) animals, no matter how good that person has done, the scale of the atrocity stands out.”

Mr Mansell said any other statues with similar “horrible stories” should also be removed.

William Lanne was considered Tasmania’s last ‘pureblood’ Aborigine when he died of cholera and dysentery aged 34.

In a gruesome piece of history, Mr Crowther broke into the morgue where Mr Lanne’s body lay, on behalf of the Royal College of Surgeons in London.

Mr. Crowther beheaded (Mr. Lanne), slashed his face and ripped off his skin, removing his skull and replacing it with the skull of a white man, stolen from another corpse in the morgue. He then sewed it up, trying to cover up his crime.

The move was already condemned at the time.

Mr Lanne’s brain was displayed in an exhibition in London in 1912.

Mr. Crowther was known as a naturalist and surgeon, but his life was defined for his infamous actions of exhuming and mutilating bodies in the name of science.

William Lanne was considered the last aboriginal

William Lanne was considered the last “full-blooded” Aborigine when he died in 1869.

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