Melbourne: King George V statue gets beheaded

In a recent incident targeting colonial monuments in Victoria, a statue of King George V was beheaded and splattered with red paint. The vandalism occurred in Melbourne’s Kings Domain on Linlithgow Avenue, and police were alerted shortly after 9 a.m. on Monday. This event coincided with a public holiday observed in Victoria and most other Australian states to celebrate King Charles’s birthday.

A police spokesperson confirmed the details, stating, “It appears the head of the statue has been removed and red paint thrown at the monument.” This attack is part of a series of similar acts of vandalism this year. On February 27, a statue of Captain James Cook was cut at the ankles and toppled in Fitzroy Gardens, near the explorer’s namesake cottage in Melbourne. Additionally, a statue of Captain Cook on St Kilda’s Jacka Boulevard was also severed at the ankles the day before Australia Day.

On the same day, a statue of Queen Victoria in Queen Victoria Gardens was defaced with red paint and graffiti. Another monument to Captain Cook in Edinburgh Gardens, Fitzroy, was found damaged and covered in graffiti over the Australia Day long weekend.

Authorities are urging anyone with information regarding these incidents to contact Crime Stoppers.

The recent surge in attacks on colonial monuments in Victoria highlights a growing movement to reassess and often challenge historical figures’ legacies linked to colonialism and oppression. These acts of vandalism, while controversial, reflect a broader, ongoing debate about how history should be remembered and represented in public spaces.

The targeted statues, such as those of King George V, Captain James Cook, and Queen Victoria, are seen by some as symbols of a colonial past that brought significant suffering and dispossession to Indigenous peoples. The removal or defacement of these statues is viewed by some activists as a way to confront and critique this history.

However, these acts have also sparked significant public debate and controversy. Critics argue that vandalism is not a constructive way to address historical grievances and advocate for more respectful and lawful methods, such as public discussions, educational initiatives, and the establishment of new monuments that honor Indigenous histories and contributions.

In response to the increasing incidents, local authorities and police are ramping up efforts to protect public monuments. Enhanced surveillance and potential legal actions are being considered to deter further acts of vandalism.

Victoria Police are actively investigating the recent incidents and seeking any information that could lead to the perpetrators. The community is encouraged to come forward with any tips or information by contacting Crime Stoppers, helping to ensure that these acts of vandalism are thoroughly investigated and addressed.

As the debate continues, it raises important questions about how societies remember their pasts, the figures they choose to honor, and how they reconcile historical narratives with contemporary values. The incidents in Victoria are part of a larger global movement that challenges traditional historical commemorations and seeks to create a more inclusive representation of history.

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