As expected, Hobart City Council’s Planning Committee has signed off on removing a 19th-century premier’s statue from Franklin Square.
William Crowther’s 135-year-old bronze image will be cut off its plinth and placed in an as-yet-unspecified storage location due to his desecration of aboriginal remains.
Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds has been an outspoken advocate for the statue to go from Franklin Square.
“Crowther was certainly not the only person making transactions in this discredited field of ‘racial science’,” Cr Reynolds said.
“But he’s the only person with hands-on involvement that has a prominent celebratory statue in Hobart’s main civic square.”
Former National Trust of Tasmania Councillor Chris Merridew told Wednesday night’s meeting it was the wrong call.
“It wouldn’t have been put by the citizens of Hobart, at their expense, had there not been substantial value held of him by the community in 1890,” he said.
“Deciding to relocate the statue doesn’t change history.”
Councillor Bill Harvey was part of the majority vote in favour.
“This is the final process in what’s been a really long and fascinating and interesting process, regardless of some of the unsavoury remarks that have been made, which I think have been appalling,” said Cr. Harvey, in an apparent dig at fellow Councillor Louise Elliot.
Cr. Elliott has been under fire for social media comments about aboriginal people who have been championing the statue’s removal.
“Surely people wouldn’t be so hypocritical as to take a statue but leave the hospitals, antibiotics, schools, clothing, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, written language, law … and more that white man’s arrival brought to Tasmania?” Cr. Elliott asked on her official Facebook account.
The timeline for the statue’s removal remains unclear, with a two-week window for appeals to TASCAT before any further action is taken.