Should They Stay or Should They Go? Contested Statues

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Christine Yeats


This contribution considers the current debates about the place of monuments, such as the statue of Captain Cook in Hyde Park, which reached a recent high point during the Black Lives Matter protests across Australia in mid 2020. While removing contentious statues from public view may address concerns about their unwanted presence, we must ensure that the contested history they embody is not also erased from society’s memory. We need to develop an acceptable framework for dealing with such monuments within their historical context. Ultimately, there is no single answer to the question: should the vestiges of flawed historical narratives stay or go? It depends on the circumstances of each case. But some things are clear. There is a need for Australia to redress historical and current wrongs against First Nations people. 



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